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After the break, which stages should LA win?(15 posts)

After the break, which stages should LA win?spyderman
Jul 15, 2003 10:02 AM
I predict he will take stages 12 and 15. The ITT will be telling if he retains the yellow for the fifth year.

Have a nice day off all!
time trialsDougSloan
Jul 15, 2003 10:07 AM
My guess is that if he is going to keep the gc, he will win the time trials, or at least one of them.

However, I have a suspicion that he has been sandbagging a bit. I think he's held back to fool the others, and when he gets the opportunity later on in the mountains, he's going to unload on the worn-out GC contenders and thoroughly demoralize them on a mountain finish. Having made them think he's not in as good of condition this year, they might not try quite as hard to reel him back in right away. Just a guess.

If he's sandbagging, heOldEdScott
Jul 15, 2003 10:16 AM
should get an Oscar. He doesn't look good (his face, I mean). He looks ten years older, and like he just doesn't feel good. His interviews are more halting than ever, and there's absolutely no bravado anymore. 'Well, we'll see. I feel OK about our chances. Maybe I'll feel better in the Pyrannes.' (Well, the last part MAY be sandbagging, but it's hard to imagine).

I dunno. I hope it's an act, but I wonder.
whatever it takes to winDougSloan
Jul 15, 2003 10:33 AM
He's done it before. Did a darn fine job of it 2 years ago. Had everyone fooled.

He must know that his year he is more marked than ever. Others know there is no way to beat him, unless they gang up and machine gun him with repeated attacks. Note that he has followed every single attack from a contender. If he were to attempt a big victory early on, the others would certainly attack even more so for the rest of the race, as they have nothing to lose. My belief is that Lance generally wins because of superior endurance, the ability to bounce back day after day, when others are a relative flash in the pan. So, his best strategy may be to hold back until later when everyone else is worn out, then destroy them in one big blow.

Of course, this is pure speculation.

whatever it takes to winDan-T
Jul 15, 2003 10:45 AM
That's pretty much what I'm thinking too. I would expect to see Lance win the TTs, putting time on the other GC contenders. Then continue to play defense in the Pyrynees, maybe going for one late mountain stage win. I think the real GC race will be for the 2nd and 3rd steps on the podium. I'm a Tyler fan, but I'm not sure he can win it this year, the way Lance defended all attacks from GC threats so far...
Paradoxically, the dearth of mountaintop finishesOldEdScott
Jul 15, 2003 10:54 AM
this year -- which the conventional wisdom said would work against Lance -- may actually help him, if this is the strategy he's going to employ. There's only one more stage comparable to AdH.
Except . . .jumphress
Jul 15, 2003 2:02 PM
. . . this would be a departure from his strategy in past wins, which is to put time into his rivals as early as possible; i.e., in the first group of mountain stages. In the past four tours, no rider has been closer than 2:38 (Beloki in 2002) after they had completed the first set of mountain stages. If Lance had followed his traditional strategy, he would have attacked on the lower reaches of Alpe d Huez and put the thing away.

Perhaps he has followed every attack by a contender, but he hasn't matched it. Vino in yesterday's stage is proof enough. I wager that Lance did not like that Vino got both the time advantage and time bonus.

He may put some time into the others on Friday, maybe not. But he better put all he can into them. If I were Lance, I would be worried most about stage 15, Bagnères-de-Bigorre > Luz-Ardiden, where his rivals will likely attack the hardest and get him away from his team mates before he is ready. This stage includes the Tourmalet, with a finish atop Luz-Ariden. And the previous day's stage, St. Girons > Loudenvielle could have a role in forcing a selection, as it covers 4 Cat. 1 climbs over 191km.

Recall that in 2000 on the Joux-Plane stage there were a tremendous number of attacks from the beginning of the fisrt climb, Col de Salseis. By the time Lance reached the Joux-Plane climb, he had only Kevin Livingston to set tempo on the lower slopes. Then Lance took over and shed everyone but Heras (then with Kelme) and Virinque. Then Heras attacked, Lance started going backwards, and a bunch of riders, including Ullrich, came back to him. Ullrich ended up taking 1:35 back from Lance. This was the stage where Heras hit the barriers 2km from the finish. If it had been a mountain finish, Lance could have lost a little more time.

No, Lance isn't sandbagging. He would have put the race away on the Alpe if he could. The next week should be exciting indeed.
Except . . .MaRider
Jul 16, 2003 8:08 AM
"... In the past four tours, no rider has been closer than 2:38 (Beloki in 2002) ..."

After 10 stages in Tour 2001 Lance was 20 min behind in 4th place, with Beloki a minute and a half back.
You're right, I should have said . . .jumphress
Jul 16, 2003 9:27 AM
. . . podium contender. But hey, Armstrong and the rest of the favorites would have been eliminated that year but for the organizers setting aside the time cut-off rule.
i don't think he's sandbaggingrufus
Jul 15, 2003 3:38 PM
but i don't think he's really suffering that much either. some have said his face looks drawn, and he's tired and haggard looking, but i really don't see it, other than the effects of some really long stages in really hot weather.

i think he made a decided effort to simply conserve as much as he could in the first week, and see how things played out. he knew there were gonna be a lot more people taking shots at him, and possibly uniting against him. he wanted to see what they would do, who's riding well, and who isn't. he was able to cover the vital attacks easily, probably would have brought back vinokourav but for the crash, and now knows who the strong riders are, and who to be wary of. wasn't it by the end of the eighth stage, that half the tour mileage had already been covered? that's a long hard first week. and you've still got two weeks to go.

i think he'll go for the first time trial and based on that, decide how the pyrenees get played. if he's got time in the rest, he'll wait for them to make the moves, and then maybe make more time with a counterattack. if he loses time in the time trial, he'll race more aggressively. and then there's the time trial on the next to last day.
agree 200% nmJS Haiku Shop
Jul 16, 2003 8:00 AM
re: After the break, which stages should LA win?lanterne rouge
Jul 15, 2003 12:53 PM
I would guess he will fare well in this Fridays TT. Based on his performance in the Dauphine, and on comments concerning Lance's training this year from Carmichael and Bruyneel, he has been working more on his TT skills this year than climbing. I think it boils down to preparation, once again (or to beat a dead horse, whichever you prefer). USPS, in my opinion, looked at this years route and realized with the lack of mountaintop finishes, the TT's would become even more important than usual. Ullrich is back also, which puts more pressure on Lance's TT performances. With regards to sandbagging, I don't believe Lance is holding back. He wanted to win at D'Huez, no doubt. I think he is recovering from an illness even he has alluded to. (Maybe the same bug that is going through the peloton right now?) I do believe he is starting to find his legs in the mountains though. He covered Belokis attacks much better on the way to Gap than the day before at D'Huez. He was even bringing Vinokourov back (albeit with Belokis help) before the crash. Maybe this last bit is wishful thinking but I do believe when he started to chase Vinokourov on the last climb into Gap he was starting to put a hurting on the other contenders, save Beloki. If the climb had of been longer I think you would have seen that group start to break apart. I still think it is a great Tour!
agree..... i thhink Lance is in great shape......stik__boy
Jul 15, 2003 6:41 PM
who else in the peloton could react over and over again to attacks like he and usps have??? Beloki. Hamilton-(even though you have to love the guys grit) hasnt exactly "attacked". made some moves- yes. but nothing too aggressive. Vinokourovs move yesterday was a blow. Ullrich seems like he's j-u-s-t hanging on. falling back some and catching back up when the pace comes back down. i think Lance is riding a tactically excellent tour and we'll see the gc contenders fall one by one over the next couple weeks. friday's TT will tell quite a bit.
Maybe one ITT...peter1
Jul 15, 2003 7:25 PM
...But he doesn't need to win any, so long as he keeps within a few seconds of Ullrich and Hamilton in the ITTs.

I think he's more vulnerable this year, due to a combination of aging, more demands on his time in the offseason, and the emergence of more people training exclusively for the Tour. I'd say the last factor has been overlooked--LA has turned the Tour into the only race that matters. Look how weak the field for the Giro was, and the Vuelta has turned into a Basque-only race, with teams like USPS sending espoirs and scrubs to support Heras.

Simoni and Garzelli pretty much cemented my belief that you can't ride to win two grand tours in a season any more.

If you look at the Alp stages, really the only place to take a lot of time out of the peloton was on d'Huez, and he was the victim of a mistake by Beltran (going out too hard and nearly cracking Heras). Also, Ullrich, Beloki, Hamilton et al were the beneficiciaries of a lot of hard, hot work by USPS the previous day. Stage to Gap -- no way was anyone going to let Lance get the kind of lead that Vino got. Ullrich would have marked him ASAP.
is anyone in the tour who rode the giro riding well?rufus
Jul 16, 2003 7:55 AM
garzelli's out, simoni might be, axel merckx had a horrible day to alpe duez, eddie mazzoleni dropped out early, pellizotti hasn't been too good. are there any riders who rode in the giro actually riding fairly well in the tour? maybe a few lesser names, but i haven't really noticed anyone.