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If Heras leaves Postal, what will happen?(22 posts)

If Heras leaves Postal, what will happen?eyebob
Dec 3, 2003 9:07 AM
Well, first off, I don't think that the new Manolo Sainz team could build a team around him as stong as Postal's was for his attempt at another Vuelta so I'm not sure what he's looking to gain from a sporting perspective. My question is more aimed at trying to figure out what (if any) impact it'd have on Postal. Is Beltran as good a 3-week climber as Heras? Would the emergence of Landis truly off-set Heras' loss? I'm not thinking that it totally would. I'd think that Postal would be weaker if he left,unless there's another climber out there to sign for the Tour team.


What will happen? Lance or Ullrich will still win again.Old_school_nik
Dec 3, 2003 2:12 PM
Well Heras didn't really figure in 2003 TDF and it was the most difficut of Lance's 5 TDF's. So LA can certainly win without Heras.

of course in 2002 Heras was a HUGE part of Lance's win (or if I am getting confused I am refering the year Heras gave up a stage win for Lance so Beloki wouldn't follow him.

Either way my point is if the team is a strong as last year - it might not matter, but Heras has got to be a favorite for the Alpe De Huez ITT. Him and Mayo can climb like gazelle's

Alpe De Huez ITT???eyebob
Dec 3, 2003 2:44 PM
Wow, didn't know that they had one planned for this upcoming event. If that's the case I'd pick Lance. Why? The current record holder for the ascent of that mountain is Pantani, but lance is second best, something like an 8 second difference. If it's a ITT, Lance will stomp. I pity Ullrich's seated climbing posture on that event. Just spin baby.

Totally agree...Dwayne Barry
Dec 4, 2003 5:44 AM
Ullrich had a piss-poor team this year and still was in a position to beat Armstrong. Any moderately strong pro team can do the work to support a leader. I think you'd really need a sub-par team for it to cause you to lose a big stage race. OTOH, Postal needs a strong team because the race responsibility will be on them, and the market isn't good for a climbing domestique who can make it to the final mountain with Armstrong. Beltran and Rubiera would be enough if they are on form, but I bet Bruyneel would like another one. Some Spaniards are out there, Angel Casero, but he probably considers himself a leader still and I think will probably go to Kelme (who seems to have got their finances in order and are looking for a big rider). Clavero and Kintana (maybe) but I believe both have doping offences in their past. Garmendia and Zarrabeitia but they probably don't have what it takes. Clavero would be good if he ever found his form again, and if his top-10 GC form wasn't due to the dope (which I think is quite likely).
Jose Azevedomaddog
Dec 4, 2003 9:40 AM
And there it is...Dwayne Barry
Dec 4, 2003 10:06 AM
that's what I get for blowing by Portugal as a country that wouldn't have any good riders available.
the bigger question is, if Rubiera leaves, then what?crashjames
Dec 4, 2003 12:01 PM
I think Heras leaving is a non-issue. Even with a strong team around him, he won't factor in Le Tour next year, being that he can't put big time on the other climbers, and can't time trial for crap.

Seems that Rubiera has been the one setting the pace on most of the TDF mountain stages I've seen in the last couple of years. Watch 2001 TDF, and you'll see Heras unable to stay with LA.

The big advantage USPS seems to have is in it's approach to preparing riders for big races. Other teams seem to make their riders just race a lot to get in form, rather than train specifically for the big events.

I could totally be wrong about all this -- either way, it's going to be a great tour. I have serious doubts about LA getting number 6.
That's a good thought.eyebob
Dec 8, 2003 11:14 AM
I havn't been watching racing for long enough to know what would happen, but I'd agree with you that Rubiera is clearly the most important domestic for the mountains. More so than Heras, more so than Landis, more so than Vaughters and Hamilton used to be. I'm guessing that the new climbers Beltran and Acevedo (am I right with this last one) will compensate for the loss of Heras.

As an aside, if Heras thinks that he has a reasonable shot at winning the Tour,he's nuts. I think that Ullrich, LA, Hamilton, Petchorroman, Nozal, GdG, Venukorov, are just a few that have much more a shot.

more thoughtsatpjunkie
Dec 11, 2003 11:39 PM
if RH has a chance at a TdF victory it's this year. A time limit on the TTT (even though any Saiz Team is usually at the top of finishers in this event) and only 1 flat TT. This Tour he has only this TT to lose time which he can possibly offset with mountaintop finishes and/or the Alpe De Huez TT. Postal will be fine, Chechu and Tricky will be there, plus they'll add what they need. I think Telekom is too top heavy, especially if they are in a position to defend. Ullrich did well in last years TdF with a so-so squad as they were never really called on to help, different story if he and/or Vino are at the top of GC. Both will lose time at Alpe de Huez IMHO. Personally I think ole' George was as important as any Spaniard. He just takes his pull earlier and that's after taking pulls across the flats for 4-6 hours. The Spaniards get more credit as their work is usually on the final climb which gets more TV coverage and is far more dramatic. Last year GH reduced the Peloton to about 20 riders on one climb. I'm not trying to demean their work but Chechu, Tricky and Heras are protected by George, Floyd and co. nearly as much as Lance. Watch out for Tyler, he has Oscar who'm I'll assume is going to be his Spanish Mountain Man.
and even more thoughtscyclopathic
Dec 15, 2003 2:43 PM
agree, Roberto won't win but this is best tour he could ask for. He does have a good chance for podium finish.

I am afraid with strong Telecom tour turns into yet another Jan/LA rematch, aka '01, maybe with diff outcome. No other team has enough manpower to contend with T-mobil/USPS; we might see some team tactics coming out to play on downhill finish stages though.

Question is if Postal would get a feel that LA won't make it /which no doubt LA would have lost this time if Jan had stronger team and didn't loose over 2min due to TTT/, will they go for stage wins?
Dec 16, 2003 1:07 PM
I'd guess that if LA can't win it, they'll keep fighting like he can because,

a) you never know. Jan's fall in the ITT last year despite two other team mates doing the same shows that he may not be the smartest rider. If so, why not ride hard and hope that he screws up.

b) that's the only thing that matters to US Postal as a sponsor and LA personally. I bet that his endorsments fall off considerably if he's not Lance Armstrong, "TdF winner"

I think that he wins this one, then switches to concentrate on one day classics. With a little luck and a willing team, I'll bet that he places and/or wins 2 in his first year trying. Ultimately, call me crazy, I'd think that he's perfectly suited for Paris Rubaix. Tough, somewhat stout in his centerof gravity, doesn't mind the muck,


Dec 16, 2003 10:30 PM
Jans Team IMHO didn't stop him last year, granted if they'd have phoned from the finish and warned him of the turn in the ITT it would have helped but how much? The TTT hurt as well as far as time on GC but I think Telekom has too many chiefs and not enough Braves to put together a good team effort. You have 4 GC hoches, Jan, Vino, Savoldelli (Giro Winner), Evans (near Giro winner) sounds like too many Chefs and not enough prep cooks.
I think LA will be stronger next year, with the Pre tour crash, the tour crash and impending divorce hanging over is head it was IMHO opinion a bad year for him and he still won. Next year, unless he starts rock-starring with Cheryl Crow I think he'll be stronger than last. I think the AlpeDeHuez TT will ruin Jan. And if Vino or Cadell is strong what does T-Mobile do? Too confusing. I think Tyler with the aid of Sevilla will be tough if he stays upright, and if Beloki can return to form with Chavanels help could be good for Brioches. I hope Jan can mount a charge, as far as LA and classics, I know he wants one BAD but I don't think he'll dedicate to it. Paris Roubaix doubtful, more Georges Terrain, fairly a flat hammer. Look for LA again to try Liege and/or the Amstel as these are more suited to him. Both have climbs, he should do Ghent or Tour of Flanders as they are cobbles but suited to his climbing attacks.
Dec 17, 2003 2:37 PM
Jan lost 43" on LA in TTT. Bianchi finished with 6 riders, and if Jan was not taking really long pulls they'd loose 2-3min more. He also lost 1'24" on Alpe d'Huez, mainly b/c he hasn't recovered from TTT effort and Postal drove pace up Galibier. Agree Jan doesn't seems too bright, Vino has more brains, judging by his attacks and wins in Paris-Nice, TdF and classics.

With respect to T-Mobil and 4GCs, T-Mobil races more then TdF. WInning Giro is far more important for Salvoldelli then TdF, and Evans would be pleased with Vuelta. The only guy who gets screwed up is Vino, which is sad as he isn't a bad rider and could captain his own team IMHO. Too bad he isn't german, and judging by Sidney experience Telecom will use him up at first opportunity.
Dec 18, 2003 11:22 PM
how will they split domestiques for various tours? I agree Jan may have been better on better team, just don't know if it would have made diff. If he'd of grabbed lead, would they be able to defend? It's all conjecture so it's not worth much. What I was saying is it's easier to have a weak or divided team when you are chasing GC vs. defending it. You burn less doms out as they aren't always 'keeping pace'. Look how the Vuelta decimated ONCE, and Heras eeked by on a less than optimal USPS as they were only called on as a team for a couple stages. It's why USPS does so well for LA in the tour, all workers and one honch, easier to call for great sacrifices. In Vinos last Interview he said there will be no more 'Sydney's' for him. Maybe T-Mobil will make him classics guy, who knows.
Dec 23, 2003 9:03 AM
effectively you'd have one 18 men USPS/T-Mobil team controlling race as it was in '01. Judging by how close race was in '03 and '04 route it will be Jan/LA fight 'till last ITT. I doubt any other team and "pure climbers" Beloki/Heras/Simoni/Mayo would have enough to blow race apart. Good luck to Vino, he is not in the same league as Jan/LA but he never was given a ticket to ride tour only. Hope he wins Paris-Nice again next season.
re: If Heras leaves Postal, what will happen?moving up
Dec 23, 2003 5:21 PM
Heras was one of the strongest riders on a bike last year and perhaps the most underrated. He rode hard in the TdF on the worst days and Lance was having trouble holding his wheel more than once on the big climbs. Having cranked hard in the TdF he ups and wins the Vuelta, so he is more of a complete package than his duties in the Posties revealed. Win or lose next year, he will be a showcase rider. I'm a huge Lance fan, but Heras was a quality team member and I wish him well on his new team.

Concur that it should not change the ultimate outcome. Next year will be the best ever Lance vs. Jan duel. Everyone else is riding behind and hoping for a major break. Lance is going to be as intense as he was for number 3 as is Jan, but Jan is chasing his own demons and self-doubt as much as Lance.
Psychology will win this one.
Jan has the edge physically, but Lance has the mind and tactics. He will be the first ever number 6.
That's my view from Austin.
re: If Heras leaves Postal, what will happen?atpjunkie
Dec 30, 2003 11:18 PM
I'm just not going to count out Beloki. Up until that crash he actually finally physically and psychologically was ready to compete. Jan and Lance could be the show but Tyler and Joseba will be there if they don't crash. Going to be fun watching Heras under Saiz control.
re: If Heras leaves Postal, what will happen?cyclopathic
Dec 31, 2003 11:01 AM
honestly I don't think Tyler can make it. It is too early to tell, anything can happen btw now and July, but I'd guess that it will be Jan/LA with Herras, Beloki, possibly Mayo, and then MAYBE Tyler for 3rd.
Jan 6, 2004 5:07 PM
considering how well he's finished in the Tour and the Giro , injured, it's hard not to imagine how well he'll do well. They (Phonak) brought in Sevilla who I imagine will be Tyler's Heras (similar to how USPS was, I imagine Oscar will have a super dom role in the tour and team leadership for the Vuelta). Plus wins at Liege and Romandy show he's got the stuff, he's just gotta stay upright. Mayo could be there as well but I think Haimar is a better TTer and could be a more 'overall threat" IMHO. Uphill TT benefits Iban though admittedly. I think this TT will be Jan's demise but could fare well for Joseba. You are correct about being too early.
re: tylercyclopathic
Jan 20, 2004 8:02 AM
I don't think Tyler would have finished any higher. His victory in stage 16? was amazing, but he got a free ride he wasn't a threat. EE and FB had only 3 riders at that point, and in modulating terrain it was next to impossible for them to bring Tylor back. EE should have tried to attack in hopes that Postal and Telecom will step on gas and close gap, but they didn't. And as soon as Tylor started threaten Vino, Telecom came upfront and brought gap down to 2min.

Agree Pohanak would be a team to watch, Oscar and also Miguel Martinez can give good support for Hamilton in mountains. However I'd guess they will have little Mig riding for polka-dot, and Oscar for stage win.
re: tyleratpjunkie
Jan 20, 2004 10:24 PM
hard for him to finish much higher (4TH) given circumstance. Considering it took all of Tkom to reel back those minutes on a +100K solo break, EE did try and were losing time. Both Mayo and Haimar plus 1 support were pushing pace and losing ground. Only when Tkom realized threat to Vino did they rally. I don't think too many in the peloton 'let' a top 5 rider go especially as he was a threat to all but Lance and Jan.
With his last couple years results my guess is Tyler will be fully supported by little Mig and Sevilla. 2 top 5 finishes in 2 GT's in 2 years plus a major classic (along with the minor tour victory (Romandy) pretty much puts him in the catbird seat. I'm suprised with all the ship jumping this season that Vino stayed with DT. I think he deserves his own captainship. Maybe they'll make him Team Leader for Paris Nice and some of the classics.
re: tylerAsiago
Jan 22, 2004 10:15 AM
Yeah, they didn't let tyler go. Even the telekom team was having trouble bringing back the time.

Just to note, little mig is going back to the mtb scene this year.