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Friday - Monday, stages 12-15 Prognostication(s)(7 posts)

Friday - Monday, stages 12-15 Prognostication(s)JS Haiku Shop
Jul 17, 2003 10:46 AM
I don't often prognosticate in public. It's just not proper, you know.

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naturally i'll be offline and without access to the internet or OLN for a few days, starting today. nice timing for 3-day vacation, no?

predictions: armstrong dominates the 1st ITT, holds pat in the mountains, and *destroys* any GC contenders who raise a pedal to him. i'll wager he'll take one of the stages, 13-15, in dramatic fashion to put his fist down and shut everybody up. probably 13, maybe 15, and only perhaps 14. maybe two of 'em, but unlikely.

by monday afternoon, i'll guess he's put at least 3 minutes into vino, and 1.5-3+ into the others.

and, i think hamilton's sandbagging. it would be nice to see him crack like a ripe coconut. vino looks to me like a fit, younger ullrich. i'm not sure of their actual age differences, but that's irrelevant. i'm not sure about mayo--imho he's the wildcard.

this of course is all barring incident or illness. i think LA's performance so far has been part bad luck, part passing montezuma's revenge, and part "not yet on form"--the latter of which may be resolved by now. i'm not certain how much was a psych game with his rivals, but i'd guess a good part of the last couple decisive days, so far.

take heed, all ye Lance nay-sayers.

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J has spoken.

;)
Some thoughts - quite longjumphress
Jul 17, 2003 11:42 AM
There's been a lot of talk about what will happen in tomorrow's ITT and, subsequently, the Pyrenees. I don't think it is a foregone conclusion that Lance will win his 5th Tour, although he is unquestionably the favorite. What will be critical is what the leaders' teammates will do. Lance's will likely soft-pedal to save their strength for later stages, as they have sometimes done in ITTs in previous tours. Will Vino's teammates do the same? Mayo's? Will the team competition be a consideration for these two?

There could be a flurry of attacks early in Stage 15, which would make it similar to the Joux-Plane stage in 2000 where Lance bonked. And Lance was, in my mind, stronger that year than this.

The BIG difference between this Tour and the four previous editions are the GC standings following the first set of mountain stages.

2003
After Stage 9
Armstrong - Leader
Vino - 0:21
Mayo - 1:02
Mancebo - 1:37
Hamilton - 1:52
Ullrich - 2:10
Basso - 2:25

2002
After Stage 12:
Armstrong - Leader
Beloki - 2:38
Gonz. de G. - 3:19

2001
After Stage 11
Armstrong - Leader
Beloki - 3:10
Ullrich - 3:34

2000
After Stage 10
Armstrong - Leader
Ullrich - 4:14
Moreau - 5:10

1999
After Stage 10
Armstrong - Leader
Olano - 7:42
Zulle - 7:47

Some of these years saw the first ITT come before the mountains, but it was in the mountains where Lance made his Tour-winning attacks.

Another important thing to consider is sometimes a leader (or otherwise favorite) can lose time in a stage not because of an attack by a particular rider but because they have a bad day. Lance had one in 2000 on the previously mentioned Joux-Plane stage. By the time Lance reached the final 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. (Both Livingston and Bruyneel were fined on this stage for irregular feeding.)

Other examples of favorites losing time:

1996 - On Stage 7 Indurain lost 4 minutes on the last climb. He lost another 2:30 to Riis on the Hautecam (Stage 16.)

1997 – Riis lost 3:32 to Ullrich on Stage 10 (Andorre). Ullrich then won a hilly Stage 12 ITT by a 3 minute margin. Riis lost another 6 minutes on Stage 16.

1998 – Ullrich, wearing the yellow jersey, lost almost 9 minutes on Stage 15, dropping him to 5th overall. The next day (another mountain stage) he came back and beat Pantani in a sprint to move back into 3rd.

Some here may disagree, but I think 1998 was the only year that Ullrich ever "cracked." Sure there are times that he cannot match accelerations, but note that he is very good at limiting his time losses. He knows his limits and rides within them. Same for Lance and Beloki.

And lest you think that Lance will crush the competition in Friday's ITT, consider his performances in previous ITTs:

2002
Lorient – 2nd by :11
Macon – by :53 over Rumsas

2001
Chamrousse – by 1:00 over Ullrich
St Amond - by 1:24 over G de G

2000
Mulhouse – by :25 over Ullrich

1999
Metz – by :57 over Zulle
Futuroscope – by :09 over Zulle


Hard to say what Ullrich will do in the ITT. But I did notice this newsflash from the TTT:

"Laurent Jalabert is watching the race from the back of a motorcycle. He has been following the Bianchi team and has reported that their team leader, Ullrich, has been most impressive today. The 1997 Tour champion has been doing turns of pace at the front of his pack
Some thoughts - continued (ran outta room!)jumphress
Jul 17, 2003 12:41 PM
"Laurent Jalabert is watching the race from the back of a motorcycle. He has been following the Bianchi team and has reported that their team leader, Ullrich, has been most impressive today. The 1997 Tour champion has been doing turns of pace at the front of his pack - about 2km at a time..."

I think the heat is, and will continue to be, a factor. The weather in the previous four tours has been either normal or cool. Here is what Lance had to say after his victory at Sestrières in 1999:

"If you look at the weather, it was a good day for me because of the conditions. I always ride well in this cold weather conditions. In cold rain, you don't have too much competition. It was raining in Oslo, in the Amstel, in other races I won in my career. On the Galibier, I did not feel super. Then I looked at the others and, by the look on their faces, I saw that they were suffering too. Today was brutal. It was cold, very cold. ... I'm still nervous. I don't think the race is over, the others will be back and they will be better and they will attack and I can have bad days and the conditions can run out. The form can run out in the next four or five days and I'm in trouble. We don't think we have the race won."

Even with Beloki out, this is the most interesting Tour in a while.
re: Friday - Monday, stages 12-15 Prognostication(s)t-bill
Jul 17, 2003 12:33 PM
Stage 12 - LA, Tyler and Jan all do well and put time into the o-boys: Vino, Mayo, and Mancebo. This and next ITT put Mayo out of contention.

Stage 13 - Lance attacks and puts the hurt on Vino and Jan. Mayo and Tyler are unknowns - I don't know if LA can drop them on the climbs or not, but I do believe he has been saving himself. We'll see!

Stage 14 - LA will mark his challengers and maybe let some non-contenders get away, but will limit damage. After having seen what happened to Beloki he will take no unnecessary chances on mountain descents. All this climbing and descending is perfect for someone to get a breakaway win.

Stage 15 - LA will go for win again on the final climb. Just like last year he will have Heras et al set an infernal pace to drop all but a few, and then take-off. I don't think Plateau du Bonsacre is long enough to do this.

Then... they rest!
notgnahappenFrith
Jul 17, 2003 2:33 PM
The weatherman says:
The previously forcasted lance-storm has been downgraded to a light drizzle.
Lance is gonna have to work for this one. I still think he'll hold yellow but it won't be the same show of domination. There will be attacks from all directions and he won't be able to go with all of them. I don't think he'll win a stage but he'll be able to hold the attackers at bay enough to hold yellow....
And there you have it. 100% P.O.P. (Probability of podium) for Lance Jan and Vino.
great analysis so far guys!fcebedo
Jul 17, 2003 2:35 PM
Stages 12-15 will be the Lance Armstrong show and my 3-year old and I will be jumping for joy every minute as we watch 3 times a day.

No, he has not been bluffing or holding back. He just had a bad day or two. It's been too friggin hot and it was wearing him down. Now, it's time to have a good day. After Alp de Huez, he was said 'If you told me two months ago, I would have this much difficulty today, I would have never believed you. ... I will not forget this'. Meaning payback is right around the corner.

On Monday (the Beloki stage), Lance looked great and finally looked comfortable. Tuesday was easy, Wednesday was rest and he did a tune-up ride. Thursday was an easy stage. So the battery is all charged up and the table is set: Lance Armstrong starring in 'Payback'!

Stages 13, 14, 15. Lance will have his 5 minute lead. Tyler might stick close but everyone else will be 5 minutes back.

francis

p.s. If Lance loses the time trial to a contender, I'm going to edit this post :{
oh, and Heras, Pena and Rubiera...fcebedo
Jul 17, 2003 2:41 PM
You guys better have crappy time-trials so you can save yourselves for Lance.

Think about it. Every moment that's counted so far on the last climbs, you guys forgot to show up! Mayo-Laiseka-Zubeldia of Euskadi are cleaning your clocks. Also, it's Lance against the world on these final hill climbs. How about Lance and his boys against the world? Remember, sacrifice. No all-out TT!

francis