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1999 Tour(16 posts)

1999 TourRower
Aug 1, 2003 11:45 AM
Long time listener, first time caller-

All this talk about whether Jan waited for Lance has got me thinking about the first Tour Lance won.

In 1999 Lance won the Tour by 7.37 over Alex Zulle. After stage #1 Lance had a 7 second lead over Zulle. During the middle of stage #2 there was a large crash on a narrow causeway (I'm sure many people remember this.) The crash split the peloton into two large groups because the causeway was too narrow for riders to make it around the downed riders.

As I remember it, and this was my interpretation at the time, the teams of those in the front group pushed the pace very hard. I seem to remember Postal working very hard at the front to open up a gap on the rest of the peleton. In the end the lead group opened up over a 6 min lead on the rest of the peleton.

That day alone, zulle lost over 6 minutes on Lance. He only lost the tour by 7 minutes. His chances of winning the tour were over after the 2nd day and he ended up getting second.

It's my understanding that there is an unwritten code that if a wreck takes down a lot of riders and splits the peleton, the remainder of the peleton waits.

So why did Postal push the pace that day, thereby ensuring many of Lances closest rivals were out of the picture? and why was this ok? I realize there were other teams involved, but I seem to remember that Postal was at the front of the main group pushing the pace almost exclusively.
Rules are not written,TJeanloz
Aug 1, 2003 12:01 PM
The "unwritten" rules are really much more complex than Phil and Paul make them out to be, and there's a lot of nuance to the rules. In the case of Passage du Gois, it was expected ahead of time that this would be a perilous section of the parcours, as you could easily get caught up behind a crash. Smart riders were at the front to avoid just such a scenario. In that case, the "unwritten" guideline was that anybody who was caught in a crash should have known better than to put himself in that position. This is the same line of reasoning used at, say, Paris-Roubaix, where riders are always very eager to be near the front when the bad cobbles come - the challenge of the course is partly to avoid crashing. On Alpe d'huez, the challenge should be the mountain, not the road surface.
known obstaclemohair_chair
Aug 1, 2003 12:16 PM
If you crash on a known obstacle, no one has to wait. Everyone knew the danger of the causeway, and the smart riders like Lance got to the front. Lance has historically ridden near the front, even in the early sprint stages, just so he minimizes getting caught in a crash.

Consider the Forest of Arenberg in Paris-Roubaix--if you aren't one of the first 10 guys going in, assume you are going to get stuck behind a crash. Don't complain if you do--that's just the nature of the game, and don't sign up if you aren't willing to play. That's why there is such a frantic battle for position just before they get there. The 1999 Tour was no different.

Known obstacle negates the crash wait rule.
known obstacleRower
Aug 1, 2003 12:31 PM
After the stage Lance crashed in, he said in an interview that he was riding too close to the crowd and should have none better. If you should have known better than to ride in a specific location on the road or risk crashing, isn't that a known obstacle?

It the past there have been crashes caused by policeman taking photographs, or people blatantly stepping out into the road. Clearly those are unknown obstacles. In fact I almost caused a crash standing on the sidelines of the 2000 tour. Well, maybe not almost, but I'll be more careful in the future. The kid that caused Lance to wreck was just standing in the crowd not stepping out in the middle of the road to take a picture. I realize it was a freak accident, but like lance said, he should have known better. It seems like riding too close to the crowds is as known as obstacle as any. Just like sprinting too close to the metal barriers that line the road at the end of a stage.
Abdoujaparov might know more about that than I though.
Not really,TJeanloz
Aug 1, 2003 12:59 PM
The crowd isn't really a known entity. You have no idea who's going to jump out in front of you or hook you with a bag. The difference is that the crowd is moving around - you don't know what they're going to do, and there's really no way for you to know. Something like a barrier is a known danger, and getting hooked on one would definitely be your own fault.

What it really comes down to is that this is a fuzzy, unwritten rule, and it has everything to do with the particulars of a situation. If there were hard-and-fast rules, they could put it into the rulebook.
re: known obstacle_jim_
Aug 3, 2003 2:58 AM
rule changes are ok as long as the rider is american
re: known obstaclemohair_chair
Aug 3, 2003 5:49 AM
To my knowledge, no American rider has won Paris-Roubaix, so how come no one has problem with the rule there, while others are still steamed about 1999? Perhaps because the rider who profited the most in 1999 was American? Nobody whines about the Belgiums putting the hammer down on the cobbles of Arenberg. Until they do, the rule is quite clear: known obstacle negates crash wait rule, regardless of nationality.
re: 1999 Tourcyclopathic
Aug 1, 2003 12:34 PM
as I recall reading LA had been asked to wait and he had pushed instead.
re: 1999 TourBradTyler
Aug 1, 2003 4:47 PM
Two main reasons:
1. the passage was a known obstacle, the smart teams were at the front

2. in the few miles prior, there was a nasty cross wind and Postal was pushing hard at the front to split the peloton anyways. It's Zulle's fault he was at the back.

As evident by the time trial results and Lance's performance in the mountains, he was the strongest in 1999. He would have still won anyways. Even though Zulle only lost about 1:30 after the 2nd stage, this was more because Armstrong was content on following his wheel in the mountains.
re: 1999 Tour_jim_
Aug 3, 2003 2:56 AM
i said this back in 1999. it's ok for armstrong to do this, and he has the backing of half the clowns in this forum. when an american rider can profit from other's misfortune, that is great, but if the shoe is on the other leg, we have an big issue, and some lame discussion ensues
Man you are bitter.noveread
Aug 4, 2003 8:06 AM
You claim favoritism for Lance. I claim bitterness against Americans.

My personal take on Luz Ardiden. Group didn't have to wait. It was the final climb. They (Tyler/Jan) chose to wait. Good grief man, get over it.

The Empty Wrapper
Aug 4, 2003 8:22 AM
Right or wrong, Jan waited. He chose to. I may well have cost him the Tour. However, had he won by attacking when Lance fell, he would have been universally vilified and done as a pro.

re: agreecyclopathic
Aug 4, 2003 10:05 AM
Jan waited b/c for him is more important to beat Lance not to win tour. That and the fact LA waited in '01.
re: agreeatpjunkie
Aug 4, 2003 5:09 PM
and don't forget waiting in 2000. can't remember the stage but Jan flatted and they slowed while he changed. Speaking of P.R. nobody waited for George when he went into the ditch. These rules are unspoken, flexible (actual term would be plastic) and constantly subject to change. It wasn't expected for Vino or the crew chasing to wait for Beloki. was most sad as his team waited and lost valuable time. Jorg may have had a shot at the podium.

and Eddy damn sure didn't wait for Ocana after he crashed.
More food for thought...jtferraro
Aug 5, 2003 3:17 AM
I thought the "unwritten rule" was to wait if the *YELLOW* jersey goes down? Zulle, as you stated, wasn't in yellow. For that matter, nor was Jan in '01 but Lance still waited. This is obviously a gray area and who knows what really goes on in these cyclists minds if & when they hear of a crash that involves the yellow jersey or another "head of state". Also, who knows what their team director is telling them.

What about 98'??JBergland
Aug 5, 2003 5:03 AM
I don't recall Pantani or anyone else waiting for Jan when he flatted at the bottom of a major climb?? If I remember correctly, he flatted twice. both at the worst possible times. Same thing?? Different?? Why or why not??