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An argument against USPS being the best team in TdF history.(11 posts)

An argument against USPS being the best team in TdF history.Cima Coppi
Jul 28, 2002 6:04 PM
Throughout this last week of the Tour, we have listened to Bill Patrick, the definitive expert of cycling, discuss the idea that the Posties are the greatest team ever to compete in the Tour. Here is my argument against that claim.

We need not look farther in the past than 1986, the year Lemond won his first TdF. His La Vie Clair squad mopped up the rest of the field in a show of team domination that may never be repeated in Tour history. Try this on for size:

Greg Lemond, 1st
Bernard Hinault, 2nd
Andy Hampsten, 4th
Niki Ruttimann, 7th
Jean-Francois Bernard, 12th
Steve Bauer, 23rd
Charly Berard, 44th
Alain Vigneron, 95th
Philippe Leleu, 97th
Guido Winterberg, 127th.

All ten members of the squad finished that year, and also to point out that Lemond's winning time was 110:35:19. That is 28 hours more in the saddle (for Lemond) than LA put in this year. Even more the members of the team. Half the team finished in the top 15 on the GC. Let's see, only Lance and Heras finished in the top 15 this year. I beg someone to challenge this as the best single year performance by squad in the Tour.


Disclaimer: I, in no way, am discrediting anything Lance or the Posties have accomplished this year, and in the previous 3 TdF's. I congratulate them on their success, and wish them all the best, even if it was a boring Tour.
Hard to argue with that GC placingMe Dot Org
Jul 28, 2002 10:02 PM
...Johan Bruyneel was interviewed on OLN tonight and he said something to the effect (and I AM paraphrasing here) that while the La Vie team was won more stages, his squad was more focused as a team.

La Vie had stronger cyclists, yes, but did they function as a team the way USPS did? Lance was a very well-protected rider.

I'm sure the debate will go on for a long time after today, but both were great squads.
You should add that half of those La Vie Claire riders..Old_school_nik
Jul 29, 2002 2:36 AM
went on to be team leaders themselves! It was truly a 'dreamteam' of cyclists.
Even in this tour?Wayne
Jul 29, 2002 2:47 AM
I'm sure if we (or the media we watch) were Spanish we'd be saying ONCE was the team of the tour. Sure they didn't have the best man but they had 3 in the top 6. That's pretty impressive. Perhaps what they should have been saying was that USPS did one of the best jobs ever of supporting a team leader in his bid for a tour win, not they're one of the best tour teams ever.
Even in this tour?peter1
Jul 29, 2002 8:29 AM
ONCE? Ha. Grand Tour cycling is a team sport, and the goal is to have one of your riders win.

It's like saying that ONCE's goal was to put as many riders as possible in the top 10 without winning the overall. "Oh, we'll try sort of hard, but we really don't think we want to go for the overall win. We might not place anyone in the top 10 if our leader blows up."

And while I'm foaming, is it just my American sensibilities or are all those other awards (green, polka, white jerseys, team points etc) as insignificant as they sound? I don't care if Erik Zabel wins a dozen green jerseys, if he wants to be a great sprinter he can compete in any one of a thousand prestigious one-day races.

The Tour, Giro and Vuelta are about doing it day in, day out, in every condition and circumstance. I'm glad they finally booted Cipo...he made a mockery of the event.

What are you talking about?Wayne
Jul 29, 2002 9:37 AM
ONCE's goal was to win the race they just didn't have the man to do it, but as a whole, the team performed well as evidenced by 3 men in the top 6. Armstrong would have won that race if he was on Bonjour or AG2R or any of those second rate French teams. It would have been harder but he would have won.
What are you talking about?peter1
Jul 30, 2002 6:41 AM

My point was that isn't the goal of the TDF to win, and by allowing their leader to cruise to an easy win, are USPS not one of the best TDF teams ever? You noted that LA would have won on a lesser team, but it would have been USPS's strength, tactics and support made it easy.

But ONCE were definitely the next-best team. I can't believe how badly (and quickly) Telekom fell apart.

Still, gotta say, it was a really boring race. I lost interest after the Pyrenees--as did, I'm sure a lot of other fans!
what makes it really differentcyclopathic
Jul 29, 2002 3:48 AM
that Greg beat his captain Hinault, who was going for 6th tour win and they let it go.

This would never happen in USPS and if Virenque's story teaches anything Greg wouldn't even be included in '86 line up after he scored 2nd in '85.

Postal will never masure to the "best tour team", but I doubt there will be a team more dedicated to their captan's victory. Postal is the "best team" captain can wish for.
Don't forget, that the job assigned to team USPS was totz
Jul 29, 2002 10:20 AM
bring yellow jersey-wearing Lance to Paris, not to place a certain number of riders in top n.
Don't forget, that the job assigned to team USPS was toatpjunkie
Jul 29, 2002 7:18 PM
Postal 2002 was a great team and did a great job. They had a mission and completed it. We'll never know if "protecting Lance" put them individually lower in the GC. ONCE by far had the strongest Team as evidence of their Team Victory. Had Lance bonked or crashed ONCE would have had a GC winner and still taken the Team Trophy. Am a total Lance fan but don't knock what others achieved.
As far as all time, I gotta go with '86 La Vie Claire (I actually have a Team Jersey), they were a dream team and dominated both individual and team categories. Let's also not forget the Molteni Teams of Merckx.
re: Disclaimer. LOLcyclejim
Jul 29, 2002 8:14 PM
I thought it was funny the way you said you congratulate USPS on their success and wish them the best....even if it was a boring tour. I mean it was obviously their fault that the Tour was boring. All the other teams were too busy attacking Lance to make things exciting.