's Forum Archives - Tour-Giro-Vuelta

Archive Home >> Tour-Giro-Vuelta(1 2 )

Postal Collapse? (Stage 16 spoiler)(24 posts)

Postal Collapse? (Stage 16 spoiler)Wayne
Sep 24, 2002 5:42 AM
I don't know how this will play out but,
"The peloton which numbers around 20 contains five Kelmes, four ONCEs, race leader Roberto Heras and mountains leader Gilberto Simoni. The top nine on GC are all there."
Aitor and others are starting to attack the remaining peloton and Heras is isolated after the cat. 1 climb. He better find some allies, or hope a teammate catchs up, or he's going to lose his Vuelta on this stage, possibly!
Someone explain this to me...mr_spin
Sep 24, 2002 6:25 AM
You manage get the race leader isolated, but so what? Sure, it's kind of scary to be alone with enemies all around, but really, what have you gained?

As long as the race leader sticks to the wheel of your team leader, you will gain no time. Your guys can attack all day, but as long as the race leader stays on your leader's wheel, you gain nothing.

The only situation where you could gain anything is if the isolated guy had a flat or mechanical problem. Except the unwritten rules of the peloton place great dishonor on anyone attacking the race leader with a mechanical.

Plus, if you isolate me, but the top 9 guys on GC are in the group, I don't have to chase down anything. I just have to make sure I stick to the wheel of the second place guy. And he needs to stick to the wheel of the third place guy. And so on. It's a self-regulating process if you think about it.

Isolating a guy is bad, but I don't think it is anywhere near as dire as it is made out to be.
This is how it has to happen...Wayne
Sep 24, 2002 6:41 AM
once he's isolated you have to have danger men attack him, and no one else help him (or very little help).
Take today for instance, Kelme and ONCE send some domestiques up the road, Heras isn't going to chase, right?
But now Beloki goes, and get's a gap, Kelme keeps the pressure on but let Beloki go off the front, suddenly Sevilla jumps away, Kelme shuts down the chase. They've got riders they can bridge up to and help them get away. Who's going to bring Sevilla and Beloki back? Heras, but that's 1 against 3 or 4 riders. You sit on him, and say he claws his way back up to the leaders only to have Gonzalez go and cross to Beloki who had already jumped away from the break. Who's going to chase? Heras, right. Repeat, ad nauseum in any number of interations. You wear him out until he can't close anymore and you're opening up time on him to the finish. Of course, if he can find help from other riders that also don't want to let the danger men go, then it's good for him but obviously they're not going to have the motivation of the man loosing his leaders jersey.
Unfortunately, it's not going to happen today since it regrouped sufficiently quickly after the descent to avoid the danger situation.
There's still a flawmr_spin
Sep 24, 2002 6:56 AM
If Beloki goes, Heras has to go after him. That's a given.

If Sevilla goes, Heras doesn't have to go after him. He can sit and watch the time tick off until Beloki gets scared enough to go after Sevilla. And that's my point. Heras just has to look at Beloki and say "You still want second place? You go get him!" Attack as much as you like, but as long as Beloki has something to lose, Heras has an ally in him.

Heras has a lot more room to work with than anyone else, because he has what everyone wants. If you want it, you'll have to take it from him, but he's not going to give it up because you scare him!
Well, you are right of course, but...noveread
Sep 24, 2002 7:11 AM
"If Sevilla goes, Heras doesn't have to go after him. He can sit and watch the time tick off until Beloki gets scared enough to go after Sevilla. And that's my point. Heras just has to look at Beloki and say "You still want second place? You go get him!" "

You are right, but Beloki can turn right back at Heras and say "You want 1st place? You chase him down, it's your race responsibility."

Anybody can just sit on, it's called "wheel sucking."

Sep 24, 2002 7:23 AM
Heras only has to respond, "I already have first place, Joseba. I also have two minutes on you, and as long as I sit on your wheel, you are going nowhere but backwards!"
Yes, it can become a bluffing game...Wayne
Sep 24, 2002 7:34 AM
and all the while the riders at the front are getting away.
Whatever happens, today showed that Postal is really weak. What if Kelme and ONCE do that on the first or second mountain of multiple mountain day? They could potentially have half of the remaining riders represented by two teams and Heras completely isolated. I think with enough km they could certainly figure out how to get rid of Heras.
wasted motionmr_spin
Sep 24, 2002 7:47 AM
The riders getting away will register with the riders below on GC who want to keep their positions. My whole point is that isolating the race leader and believing you have accomplished anything but a moral victory is ludicrous.

With the exception of Heras and Vandevelde, Postal has been nowhere during the past two weeks. They are weak, and everyone knows it. That makes me wonder why Kelme expended so much energy today to accomplish nothing! So far Kelme doesn't seem to be the smartest team in the race.

There's still one more serious mountain top finish coming, and it's in Heras' backyard. Expect Heras to take a flyer in order to gain a time buffer for the final time trial.
I didn't see it...Wayne
Sep 24, 2002 8:10 AM
so it's hard to speculate but it sounded like ONCE and KELME started to drive it but without real gusto and then shut it down as soon as the chasing groups started getting back on. I agree sounds like a wasted effort. Maybe Kelme was content with 2 riders in the break, but then why force a selection over the climb? Maybe they thought about trying to split the race and hurt Heras but when it became apparent that the break was going to work they changed plans?
Bad news for Postal and everybody else is that Kelme has expended so much and still had more numbers in the selection than anyone, and two guys up the road.
meanwhile, sevillas gains four minutes and takes the lead.(nm)rufus
Sep 24, 2002 8:03 AM
only in the bizarro world...nmmr_spin
Sep 24, 2002 8:10 AM
Sep 24, 2002 8:11 AM
Then Joseba replies, "you're going backward with me then."

Everybody and anybody can be a wheelsucker. Beloki is not going to help Heras and Heras would lose 1st place before Joseba loses 4th. So it really IS Heras's responsibility to chase.

Sep 24, 2002 7:18 AM
just like any breakaway you have to get the right combination for it to work. It's far from a certainty that Heras would lose his lead, but the possibility is much higher than if he had team help. Suppose Beloki goes first and Kelme let him go. Essentially, Sevilla and Gonzalez could start one-two-ing Heras until one or the other got away. That's just it, it's a potentially dangerous situation because the combinations are endless. And the situation, whatever happens, wouldn't exist unless the leader was isolated.
Seems different to be isolated in mtns vs. on flatsPdxMark
Sep 24, 2002 10:24 AM
The great example of being terribly isolated on the flats, with no way to win, was George H. in Paris-Roubaix. George had to counter the moves by each of the four(?) Rabobank(?) riders, one after the other. They eventually wore him out.

But it seems different in the mountains. So few riders can blast off the front of that final group. With an isolated Roberto, or a Lance, who can counter each move off the front, it seems that any attack is not much different from pacing the strong/isolated climber up the hill - as AG did on Angliru.

So being isolated on the flats, where anyone can put out a short burst to get away, seems pretty dangerous. But in a mountain stage, with the isolated guy being one of the strongest climbers, isolation seems to be less of a risk.

This seems to apply to a big final climb, anyway. Being isolated at an intermediate mountain could be more dangerous if the isolated guy is not close enough, or aware enough, to notice threatening a break. An example of how this (almost) played out was the end of one Tour climb this year when Lance didn't notice an acceleration toward the end of a mountain stage until Johann was shouting into his earpiece. In that case, Lance closed the gap once he tuned back in. So it seems Roberto needs to stay near the front and aware of where all contenders are.
Right, but...Wayne
Sep 24, 2002 11:47 AM
there are valley's in between the mountains usually with flattish roads. So, isolating Heras has to be done before the final climb to really be potentially dangerous. There are at least two more days where he could lose the race due to being on a weak team.
Right, but...atpjunkie
Sep 24, 2002 12:22 PM
it was Domo isolating George in P.R. That 2 on 1 or 3 on 1 whatever is quite popular in the flats of the North. Rabobank did it to a guy from Fassa I think in one of the classics this year as well. Not going to happen to USPS regardless. Heras flatted today and needed only 2 to bring him back. All postal has to do is control a bit of the tempo on the flat stages and let Fassa and Telekom do most of the work for Petacchi and Zabel to duke it out for the sprint. There are too many riders with shots at the podium in the peloton that is going to create the opp. for that kind of break. In the past 2 weeks of the Vuelta only 2 breaks have held, 1 aided by a massive wreck. The Coast / Kelme team war will only aid USPS like the Kelme / Once Wars of the 99 and 00 TdF aided Lance. expect Chechu to step up w/ C.V.V. and Heras to do the hometown win and gain more time on that mountain stage. Wayne you must be an Once or Kelme homer (I'm a Euskatel man myself) and I think you are letting your feelings affect your judgement. There is no way Heras will be caught out unless he's feeling sick or weak.
It didn't happen when he was only a threat and without support, no way Bruneel will let it happen in the leaders jersey. Plus you know how teams rally around the leader.
Ahh, Domo, that's right... as for the ITT...PdxMark
Sep 24, 2002 1:14 PM
Assuming he holds the jersey to the end, and maybe picks up additional time, will Roberto get the leader's rush to help in the ITT like Salvodelli in the Giro? (Did I get that name right???) Roberto says he thinks he'll lose less time in the final ITT - despite the longer length. Is that due to the slightly greater climbing than in the first ITT?
Ahh, Domo, that's right... as for the ITT...atpjunkie
Sep 24, 2002 7:57 PM
Leaders Rush, slightly hilly and maybe he's just feeling good. Maybe he thinks his fitness will help, I don't no. He's going to need all 3 plus some more time to give him the margin. Sevilla lost on the TT last year so times going to matter. I've seen it Savodelli, Salvodeli and Salvodelli so who knows Paolo IL FALCO. 2 years ago they televised live and uninterrupted one of his descents in the Giro. He'd broken free had a camera bike on him and Phil and Paul said this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to watch him work.
It was about a 15 minute descent hitting speeds near 70, was the most inspiring balls out thing I've seen in a Tour.
Sep 25, 2002 4:48 AM
I'm not argueing Heras will definitely end up isolated, but that's what I'm hoping for and I think it's a strong possibility. I'm argueing that it could make a difference if he ends up isolated, which some people seem to think doesn't matter. Tactical racing adds a dimension to the race you don't always get to see, so I'm all for it.
I didn't see much rallying yesterday from Postal, only Heras could climb with the top 20 guys, and only Rubiera and VV got back with the top 1/3 of the peloton that came to the line together. I guess I'm rooting for Aitor to win it. Heras and Aitor are both on my Performance Fantasy team and I'd really like to win that Giant bike to turn into a dedicated TT bike.
so it all comes clearatpjunkie
Sep 25, 2002 9:38 AM
yes tactics is essential and interesting. You are going to do fine if you have them both. Tomorrow's Stage is in Heras home area and it ends with a HC climb. IMHO it's going to be his day. Postal rallied enough to get Heras the win on L'Angliru and I'm predicting he'll take tomorrow as well. This could be interesting as with a victory he could wind up with the Gold, White and Orange Jersey (he's 3rd in the Mountains Category).
Aitor most likely will be the one stranded as I don't see him getting any help from Kelme. All the riders hoping to renew next year will help Sevilla and if Aitor wants out of the doghouse he's going to have to work as well. Aitor will only be able to attack if Oscar and the DS let him. I think Mayo and Beloki will benefit from this the most. Look for one of them (or both) to possibly move up in the GC standings. Good Luck on the bike.
According to the cycling news sources...Wayne
Sep 25, 2002 9:48 AM
Aitor is Kelme's leader now per Belda and Sevilla is playing domestique (although I doubt you'll see him taking any pulls on the front). Not surprisingly Sevilla is supposedly ticked off about the whole situation. So it will be interesting to see what happens tomorrow and Friday.
According to the cycling news sources...atpjunkie
Sep 25, 2002 11:01 AM
okay so you are a Kelme domestique. Aitor is gone next year and Oscar will be your captain. Where are you going to place your allegiance? I suspect there will be some payback for L'Angliru.
Like I said if anyone has a chance of being stranded it's AG, by his own team. Tactics good, Soap Opera Better. look for Heras victory and possible Mayo and Beloki taking other 2 spots on podium. Aitor's gonna have a rough couple of days.
According to the cycling news sources...mr_spin
Sep 25, 2002 11:36 AM
Maybe someone will pour molten lead down Aitor's seatpost and fill his tires with water. That would be kind of fun.
According to the cycling news sources...atpjunkie
Sep 25, 2002 8:08 PM
maybe he'll flat and no one will wait or offer their wheel. Pack his hubs with Molasses. Can't wait, I dig good drama