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The importance of TTs for GC contenders?(13 posts)

The importance of TTs for GC contenders?Coot72
Jul 7, 2003 7:21 AM
My impression from the prologue is that USPS has one of the strongest teams for the team TT. People have been talking up Simoni as a strong GC contender, but I'm not convinced he can time trial well enough to win it all. Jan Ullrich is also looking strong, but I don't think he has a strong team. Here are some questions to open up some discussion:

-How strong is Ullrich's team, especially for the team TT and protecting him for the mountains?

-How much time will Simoni need to stay ahead, given the 2 ind. TTs (especially the second, pancake flat ind. TT) and the team TT? Can Saeco keep Simoni close?

-The Tour is traditionally very tough on small climbers (simoni ~ 125 pounds) during the first week, because of the high speeds on the flats. Is Simoni robust enough to survive the first week?
re: The importance of TTs for GC contenders?Velojon
Jul 7, 2003 7:30 AM
Great post. I think Bianchi will do well in the TTT but not as well as perhaps top 5. I'm in Europe and I can tell you Germans are notoriously tough in TTs (great triathlon cyclists too). I think if Gilberto gets 4-5 minutes in the mountains, he can hold off Ullrich and LA. I don't think it will happen, but I reckon that's about as good a guess for time gaps as one can give. Pantani won it as a smallish rider, but I think you are right. By and large, the best TDF riders have been a little bigger (Merckx, Indurain, Fignon, Hinault, Lemond, LA, Ullrich, yada-yada-yada). I think the stronger TTrialists tend to be a bit bigger than your mountain goats and hold up a little better in the TDF.
with few exceptions climbers don't win TdFcyclopathic
Jul 7, 2003 7:55 AM
agree with VJ, Simoni has to go to final TT with 4-5min surplus.
Sounds about right...Dwayne Barry
Jul 7, 2003 8:07 AM
and there being only 3 mountain top finishes (and the fact that the tour mountains tend not to be terribly steep as compared to some of the Giro or Vuelta climbs) makes it unlikely that Simoni can get that much time even if he outclimbs Armstrong/Ullrich. On the plus side Simoni is a great descender which may help him out getting time on Ullrich.
if he takes riskscyclopathic
Jul 7, 2003 8:16 AM
he'll make time on LA too going downhill. If you attack early he can make some serious time with double shot stages like Galibier/Alpe d'Huez.
Maybe...Dwayne Barry
Jul 7, 2003 8:30 AM
if Armstrong doesn't go after him but I think Armstrong is a fairly good descender as well.
if he takes risksPygme
Jul 7, 2003 9:39 AM
You dont win a tour on the downhills. Time made up on the down hills are easily made up as opposed to time made up on the climbs. If you are trying to hang on a climb or trying to minimize your losses, you are taxing yourself to your physical limits. This affect the rest of your ride.

If you are losing time on a downhill because you are not that great of a handler, assuming you are not crashing, you have not physically taxed yourself as much and still have plenty of reserves to continue.
DisagreeMaRider
Jul 7, 2003 8:41 AM
I think Simoni needs less than 4-5 minutes going into final TT. Look at Giro - he only lost 2min to Gonchar in the final TT, only 1 min behing Popovych/Garzelli who DID go all-out, plus it looked like he wasn't really going all-out since he had an 8-min lead by then.

Fine, that was a 33-mile TT, as opposed to 49-mile TT in the Tour, but I would guess than if Simoni was in yellow going into the final TT, he would only lose 1.5 to 2.5 min to Armstrong, not much more. Yellow makes people do outstanding things.

Having said that, I don't see Simoni getting ahead of Lance by a margin that huge.

And even though technically there may be only "three" mountain-top finishes, in reality there's plenty of mountain stages where Simoni can fight LA, Ulrich, Beloki, Hamilton, Botero, etc.
Stage 7 has a 1st category and a 3rd category climbs in the final 20km, not to mention early climbs.
Stage 8 is L'Alpe D'Huez top finish, and is preceded by Col du Galibier (hors climb).
Stage 9 has a hors climb, but it will probably come back together during descent.
Stage 13 is mountain top finish.
Stage 14 is not, but has four Cat-1 climbs.
Stage 15 is a mountain top including Col de Tourmalet.

Any one of these 6 stages can have some serious gaps opening up between GC contenders. But I agree that there's not enough very steep climbs to favor "true climbers" like Simoni, besides, if Armstrong's form is anything like last year's, I think Simoni will find himself in a whole different league from the one he faced in d'Giro.
I hope Simoni is for real, but.........Len J
Jul 7, 2003 9:30 AM
he has not been up against Lance in Tour form, in a 21 stage race.

Watch Lance the last two years, he never did more than enough to win. In the Mountains, it looked like Lance always had something left in the tank. I can't wait for Alpe d'uez. Figure Simoni to attack on the Galiber and try to open a gap. If Lance is on form, and we won't know until then, I would expect to see Lance shadow him up the Galiber, continually pushing. When Lance doesn't crack, look for Simoni to panic. On Alpe D'uez I would look for Lance to make his statement.

Now if Lance is not on form, and if he gets too wrapped up on Simoni, it could be ugly. Should be fun to watch.

As to how much time Simoni needs, I would think a minimum of 3 minutes. The final TT is pretty long, I think, and Lance (or Ullrich) could make up 3 minutes easy.

Can't wait until Alpe D'Uez.

Len
This should be a good one....James OCLV
Jul 7, 2003 10:13 AM
I'd love to see LA put into difficulty, but I don't think that it's going to happen. Simoni didn't face competition of this calliber in the Giro. Unless Beloki is on EPO, he won't do it either. He tried to attack Lance last year, but Lance countered and attacked himself and dropped Beloki.
if Simoni for real, it'll take more then one stagecyclopathic
Jul 7, 2003 11:10 AM
he's gonna take LA the same way as he did Garzelli on first climb. Yes Garzelli matched all the way and won the stage, but where was he after? I wonder how long LA would last in Simoni's company when Heras and Bertran are gone.

I'd bet LA would end up getting dropped and riding on defense. If you ask to trough in prediction I'd say LA is gonna loose to Simoni in mnts and to Ulrich in TT but he'd win tour by beating Simoni in TT and Ulrich on downhills. That of cause if Simoni and Ulrich will not team up against LA. Anyway it will be fun to watch.

CP

PS I doubt Simoni would panic. He has nothing to loose.
Agree....Len J
Jul 7, 2003 11:30 AM
but it will begin to show itself by Alpe D'uez (Which is the second day in the mountains) The first Mountain Top Finish.

I'd take Lance hands down in climbing ability compared to Garzelli.

I wonder how long Simoni will last one on one w Lance.

Three great climbers (w/Ulrich) plus Beloki & maybe Hamilton. Beltran & Heras make the difference to me. Heras was there on every mountain stage last year & (if not for not wanting to pull Beloki up to Lance) would have finished w Lance on every mountain stage.

To me it all depends on what form Lance is in.....I wouldn't bet against him (barring an accident or illness, but that goes for everyone).

Should be fun to watch.

Len
I don't think Heras is spot oncyclopathic
Jul 7, 2003 11:41 AM
he is 7lbs heavier then Simoni but he lost 20sec to him in Prologue.