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Aitor Gonzalez throws down the gauntlet..(27 posts)

Aitor Gonzalez throws down the gauntlet..Spunout
Mar 25, 2003 7:53 AM

On the eve of the race, the Spanish press headlines a recent radio interview given by the Texan in which he reportedly downplayed the Vuelta winner's potential as a threat.

"The winner of Vuelta a España believed that he deserved different treatment from the American," writes Madrid daily As. "Aitor has announced a battle for 2003, including in the Tour de France. Today is the first day."

Do you think he's up to it? I hope that he does well nevertheless. I don't want to watch a TdF as boring as 2002. You have to admit, Vuelta was much more exciting with the competition.
re: Aitor Gonzalez throws down the gauntlet..atpjunkie
Mar 31, 2003 4:02 PM
Aitor lost to Heras in every mountain stage in the vuelta. Lance is IMHO as good or better a climber than Roberto. Lance is also one of the best TTers to date. Roberto isn't and his lack of TT ability cost him the Vuelta. Aitor will most likely do the Giro as well. Add all these up and Aitor doesn't stand a chance.
Here's my Call (granted it's a bit nationalistic as it's the 100 Anniversary and I have huge distaste for the French)

(all US podium)
with Evans making a good showing

Petachhi or Browne (aussies and Italians)

and the Spanish taking theTeam (ONCE) and Mountain categories.

I'd be tickled pink.
re: Aitor Gonzalez throws down the gauntlet..wheelsucker
Apr 2, 2003 3:24 PM
I don't think that mckewen will win the sprint jersey if Cipo is there. as for gc I think that beloki will take 2nd. he is a better climber than tyler and can tt just as well. don't forget about sevilla either. I think LA will win again but 2nd & 3rd place are going to be close. I think that the giro and vuelta will be more exciting, as long as the giro isn't plagued with drugs for the 3rd yr.
re: Aitor Gonzalez throws down the gauntlet..atpjunkie
Apr 4, 2003 3:10 PM
Do you think Cippo will get invited? do you think he'll go if he is? He pretty much hates the TdF as they've snubbed him so many times. I don't think his team has a GC contender (Pantani didn't take the deal) so IMHO he won't get invited (again). I don't think Sevilla has the TT ability, he suffered Heras' fate in the 2001 Vuelta. I honestly don't think we'll get an All American podium (but do hope so). I think Tyler can climb and TT as well as Joseba, his fate depends on whether he crashes or not. Tyler isn't racing the Giro and he trains like LA. Even injured he took 2nd in the Giro, how will he do healthy and prepped specifically for the Tour? and Lepheimer, top ten in his first TdF. Both these riders are darkhorses to watch. Beloki will be strong but I don't think Sevilla has the whole package yet. Keep an eye on Casero. I'll be stoked if it's Spaniards or Italians, want an all coalition podium.
Don't count out McKewen, he's young, fast, the defending champ and already posting victories in the early sprints.
cipo will probably be invited to the tour and probably go.wheelsucker
Apr 4, 2003 6:58 PM
I don't think that they'll leave out the world champ. Cipo is racing in some of the races held by the tdf organizers to get the invite. In years past he hasn't done this. I hate to say(and everyone thinks it) it but the tour has become somewhat predictable(almost boring) with LA taking the easy win and probably same thing this year, whoever is in second will just fight to hold off whoever is in third, so putting cipo in the tour will add some excitement. my $.02
Pantani considering transfer for the tour....Spunout
Apr 7, 2003 6:04 AM
Probably to Domina Vacanze. I read this on somewhere. Pantani's team will not be invited, because of its Div II status. If the teams can get the business done, it is no problem for Pantani to switch teams for July.

He doesn't need much in teammates; Domina is built around Cipo anyways.
re: Aitor, Roberto and LAcyclopathic
Apr 14, 2003 5:10 AM
Aitor did put some time on Heras in Sierra Nevada, ~50sec. His biggest loss was on Angliru, and given grade LA would have no chance to stay with Herras. His TT is pretty strong he put 2min on Beloki (as much as LA did in tour but on shorter course), beat Botero by 1min (Botero won Worlds TT week later). Most importantly he very smart and savvy rider. LA, Aitor and Ulrich will take podium, not sure in which order.
Apr 15, 2003 10:54 AM
may not even be riding. contract on hold as Coast is having $$ problems. He may be a non-issue. Pantani won't go to Cippos team as he refused them because they wanted to use his image in advertising, he snubbed it and them (dumb, considering where his career is right now).
Apr 16, 2003 4:43 PM
I think Ullrich will be lucky to finish in the top 5. It would be nice to see him give lance a real challenge but I think that his injury will get in the way. As for pantani, I think he's all hype. I think he wants to see how he does in the giro and then he might change teams if he thinks he is in good form.
Cipo, yes.CharlesTT
Apr 6, 2003 9:31 PM
I read somewhere that UCI ruling requires the trade team of the previous years world champion be invited to all of the major races. Like TDF, Giro, Vuelta.

As far as GC goes, its a tough call, except the winner. Tyler will not be able to keep his bike upright. Levi could pull something off, we'll see. Beloki, Ullrich, Botero, Aitor, Zulle.... all will be peaking in july. Aitor will get 5th at best. Botero is either on the podium or not. I dont want to talk about pantani untill after the Giro. Ullich, they said he is looking strong, but he might have lost his edge, again. Zulle, phonak will probly get invited. says that our guess needs to be in by July 2nd or something. I will wait after the giro, see if pantani wins the giro and switches to a tour team and blows it away in lances face. This will be an interesting season, maybe not exiting (TDF) but probly interesting.
Simoni did the same last year...look where it got him. (nm)Ohmmm
Apr 24, 2003 6:58 AM
Simoni did the same last year...true, and more Cippoatpjunkie
Apr 24, 2003 6:38 PM
because of new team (Domina) they have to qualify for tour. They can't ride on his WC of last year.
I'm sticking to Lance and Tyleratpjunkie
Apr 30, 2003 3:20 PM
after the BAsque Tour, Amstel and L-B-L they look the strongest. US Postal squad better step up.
all hype....lance is gonna win as usualwheelsucker
Apr 30, 2003 6:24 PM
everyone talks up a big storm about how maybe LA can be beaten this year because so n' so is on form or has been training to win. Maybe the UCI does this to spark interest in their biggest tour thats currently starting to be overshadowed by the vuelta, or maybe riders/directors do it to draw attention to their team/sponsors. The race in the TDF is not for first(unless Lance stops training), the race is for 2nd and 3rd.
all hype....lance is gonna win as usualatpjunkie
May 1, 2003 1:27 PM
agreed, barring injury or illness or some serious team issues LA is way out front. I think Tyler (if he can stay upright) will be his closest comp. with Beloki. Tyler has the whole package is on form and CSC is strong. Would love to see 2 Americans on the podium. Maybe Levi will come to form and we'll get a sweep. That would be sweet for a 100th Anniv. TdF. NO FROGS
Probably one of the safer bets you could make...Dwayne Barry
May 2, 2003 6:37 AM
is that there will be no French on the podium, you'd probably have to go top-10 just to start to make it interesting.

Of course there is hype that LA is vulnerable, the tour has been a snooze-fest the last couple of years. People want to see a race, not a procession! Thankfully they put the TTT into the first 10 days so that there is some GC interest before the 1st of the 2 trips into the mountains. And there was that one long breakaway that made it interesting one year (last year or 2 years ago?).

Lance's style of winning is boring (which is great for him and USPS). Have the team control the race until the bottom or half-way up the final climb and then launch into orbit. What the tour really needs is some pure climbers with the balls to attack to liven it up! Simoni and Casagrande haven't been on form or there during LA's reign, Postal hired one of the main pure-climbing threats, and the other climbers seem more interested in fighting amongst themselves for the minor placings than going from far out in the hopes of stealing the GC. The last one I remember doing this was Escartin way back during Lance's first or second win. ONCE squandered any team tactical advantage they had last year, maybe Telekom will bring the numbers this year and show some guts. Something, anything to make this years race as exciting as a Giro (well, last years was something of a flop when the main protagonists were excluded) or Vuelta!
last years Giroatpjunkie
May 5, 2003 11:15 AM
I rather enjoyed it with Tyler, Cadel and Savodelli on that last climb. and then the TT to settle it, was nice drama just different players. I think this years Tour will be chess match with Brunyeel and Riis. CSC is strong have plenty of help (sastre, etc..) I think it will have more drama than the last couple of tours.
Yeah it turned out to be a good race...Dwayne Barry
May 6, 2003 5:01 AM
but I felt it was tarnished given that the likely podium (Simoni, Garzelli, and Casagrande) weren't there at the end (for that matter Frigo wasn't there either was he?).
the likely podiumatpjunkie
May 6, 2003 4:44 PM
was mostly suspended or fleeing suspension. Simoni had the "my dentist gave me cocaine.." Frigo, well he's had his troubles with chemicals, Garzelli as well, can't remember what was up with Casagrande. Most were suffering from that ailment known as Pantani's disease.
Come on...Dwayne Barry
May 7, 2003 3:40 AM
Garzelli banned for a drug failure at LBL for a 1980's era masking agent that no longer works because of updated testing.

Simoni, cocaine shown to come from candies granny had given him.

Frigo suspended really for "intent to dope" as the substance he was caught with turned out to be saline or something like that.

Casagrande punched another rider early in the race.

I got no problem with suspending guys for EPO, cortico and anabolic steroids, etc. but these were candy-ass suspensions (as was Ullrich's) of high profile riders so the UCI can make it look like it's fighting doping.

Casagrande was the only one who shouldn't have been in Milan.
that's right about Casagrande...atpjunkie
May 7, 2003 2:21 PM
I want some of Simoni's grandmas candy. first it was his dentist second candy, be freakin' serious. Most likely was recreational use, but a banned substance and he should have known better, like Ullrich and xtc. he wasn't using it to enhance but for non-cycling applications. still illegal, still against UCI rules and as pros they know better.
Garzelli's masking agent....yes antiquated but still illegal. Frigo, there were other substances and equipment and it wasn't the first time for him. He's had numerous mystery withdrawings from races when he's felt he was about to get checked.
who was the guy who punched the fan a year or two ago?
rider that punched a fan....who was(jeopardy theme playing)wheelsucker
May 7, 2003 3:25 PM
it was wladimir belli in the 2001 giro. Simoni's fans were going crazy on one of the mountain stages. Just so happens that Belli is in 3rd place and simoni's nephew is taunting/yelling in Belli's face, so Belli punched him. I remember Bob Roll showing a replay of the incident, even bob roll said the fan shouldn't have been that close and Belli gave what he deserved.
Belli rode for Fassa right?atpjunkie
May 7, 2003 4:20 PM
I thought desreved as well. You are suffering up some mountain and some homer decides to harass, deserved indeed. The doping penalties IMHO usually are well deserved. like that coach who got fired from Alabama. He knew he had a morals clause and used school credit card to pay for weekend of whoremongering with stripper. lost a 10 million dollar contract. These guys get paid well and all that is asked (besides racing, promo and training) is staying clean. They know what is legal and what is not, unless they are slipped mickeys.
Like I said...Dwayne Barry
May 8, 2003 2:58 AM
candy-ass suspensions. The idea of doping rules is to prevent "cheating", suspending some guy for taking xtc or cocaine out of competition doesn't do this. Your Frigo assertion lacks merit. He's won a couple of stage races already this year and was surely tested. He never tested positive (even at the Giro). What equipment? You mean IV's, hematocrit measuring devices? Aren't these common equipment for any top pro?
okay so.....atpjunkie
May 8, 2003 2:43 PM
you are asking the UCI to somehow discern between recreational and performance enhancing usage? Both cocaine and xtc are listed stimulants and banned. Cocaine is/was used for the notorious Pot Belge of the Festina TdF debacle. So how does the UCI tell the difference? Trust the rider....yeah. Trust the Team? No they ban the substance simple as that, get caught ,get booted. That's not candy ass that's clear policy. The UCI has enough trouble keeping up with new doping to try to become the arbiters of riders usage. The rules are simple, clear cut and they got what they deserved. Or do you have some psychic method for determining someones dope intentions? Cycling Season lasts almost all year, are you going to have a 1 month grace period in December? Re: Frigo, uh mysteriously dropping from the Giro the day before the big raid. Quitting this years Paris Nice in the leaders jersey for unknown reasons. Be serious, no, most pro riders don't have Syringes in their kits, the team doc or soignier yes, but not the individual. They aren't trained to self medicate. Let me guess you will also defend Rumsas' wife's EPO possession as well.
Look it's this simple, as a GC Honch you get paid in excess of a million dollars + a year to ride and stay clean. That means no dope whether for fun or performance. If you can't abide by that simple rule and get caught, you get what you deserve. By your opinions I guess you have dabbed in certain substances, have you ever done a liver flush? Ever had to beat a drug test? If so you know for a lay person it isn't that hard to beat most tests and these guys have better masking agents to counter better testing. They still get caught. Idiots, simple as that, they should get their contracts pulled as well like that 'baba coach.
Sticking by my original assertion...Dwayne Barry
May 8, 2003 3:01 PM
the circumstances surrounding both Simoni's and Ullrich's cases were clearly not cases of sporting fraud and the UCI should have dealt with them in a just manner. Garzelli's case didn't make any sense.

Frigo, he should have been suspended (I thought he dropped out of PN because of stomach problems). Rumsas, I think he was probably doped to the gills.

I've never been drug tested and I wouldn't have to do a "liver flush" if I were. Why in the world shouldn't someone be able to use (recreational) dope just because their a GC Honch? So if Ullrich would have drunk himself into a stupor that fateful evening his contract should still be solvent but he popped some pills and got caught so he should lose his job? How much sense does that make?
it doesn't have to make senseatpjunkie
May 8, 2003 6:24 PM
I'm not going to get in an alcohol vs drug debate, I agree alcohol is one of the worst. These guys should know which rec. drugs are banned. Granted it wasn't sporting fraud but if the UCI let's them off, guys will use stimulants and then accredit it to 'recreational usage'. It would create a huge mess. You can't have grey areas or it would be impossible to enforce. Personally I'm a light drinker but have friends who smoke and I've watched them beat job tests. The Canadian Snowboarder got busted by the Olympics for pot but since pot isn't 'performance enhancing' he was able to keep his medal. XTC which is basically a modified speed and cocaine are both performance enhancers so they have to be banned outright, no excuses and they know those rules.
Look if I offered you, lets say 1.5 Million Dollars a year to do whatever you do for a living on the basis doing your job to the best of your ability and staying 'clean' from certain substances could you do it? Would you risk losing all that $$ just to get high? These guys get big dollars plus endorsements (Lance is #3 in the world behind Tiger and Jordan) to freaking pedal a bike and stay clean, tough life. That's what being a GC honch is. If they can't handle the rules then let them get real jobs, maybe they'd think twice about the sweet deal they are blowing.