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Thread: Tour De France

  1. #1
    It's the fight in the man Rich's Avatar
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    Tour De France

    I was watching the preview to the Tour De France last night on Eurosport (don't know if you guys get that out in the States!?!) which was being hosted by Britain's own Chris Boardman *he should really stick to cycling rather than presenting *.

    He went through the different stages of the Tour, and talked to a few people about what they thought of the stages and the overall shortness of the Tour this year.

    Me personally, I can't wait for the Mountain Stages to start....it's a shame that Pantani won't be racing this year, but Chris Boardman was saying that there's alot of younger riders coming through now...which should hot things up a tad.

    Who do you guys think is worth keeping an eye on this year?

    Enjoy the Tour

    Rich :thumbup:
    Making New Zealand a safer place :)

  2. #2
    RAGBRAI. Need I say more? Steele-Bike's Avatar
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    I do not follow much racing, as I do not have cable TV. But as a good American, I must say that I will cheering for Lance.

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    Sadly this year will not be nothing too great. However Mr. Boardman is right about the new riders. Euskaltel should put on a great show. Knwing many of the riders and Julian Gorospe, his riders will not sit by.

    We will see newer riders try their hand at stages and to make racing exciting at spots.

    Pantani out? Not abig deal, he aws not going to do anything anyways. As I told many and predicted the Giro he needs to seriously sit down with himself and think things out personally.

    I see Lance having no problems. Ullrich will have to be 100% and no team problems. He will have to take the Maillot Jaune on the 1st or 2nd key stage to boost his morale and his level. If not he will sink bad. However Telekom may put on huge perssure so he can finish on a top spot.

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    Whoever believes Armstrong will become an instant winner underestimates Jan Ullrich. This year's the first year since 1997 that he is entering the Tour at his ideal weight of 73kg. The addition of Heras to US Postal is a valuable acquisition for Amrmstrong, but Livingston's departure to Telekom evens out much of that.

    The Telekom staff are very impressed with Ullrich's form, considering they have dropped Fagnini in favour of another helper for der Jan. Telekom will hardly do any hard work in the flat stages and leave it all to Mapei (Steels) and Credit Agricole (O'Grady) to nullify breakaways. This way, Telekom can save all of their strength for the stages that matter. Then you will see what awesome power they can unleash. And how that benefits Ullrich. Expect less mass sprints this year, so does Patrick Lefevere of Domo-FF, who did not include Robbie McEwen (former stage winner) in the team.

    Heras overachieved in the time trials last year and he never will become a specialist. Besides, he is a helper, so do not expect him to finish in the top ten. This is how I think they will stack up in the end.

    1. Jan Ullrich (Telekom)
    2. Lance Armstrong (US Postal)
    3. Christophe Moreau (Festina)
    4. Francesco Casagrande (Fassa Bortolo)
    5. Joseba Beloki (ONCE)
    6. Raimondas Rumsas (Fassa Bortolo)
    7. Roberto Heras (US Postal)
    8. Francisco Mancebo (iBanesto.com)
    9. Angel Casero (Festina)
    10. Daniele Nardello (Mapei)

    Surprise!

  5. #5
    It's the fight in the man Rich's Avatar
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    From what I gather (I'm a MTBer at heart and not very knowledgable about Road racing types ) Jan did very well in the Giro this year...

    It'll be good to see Lance and Jan competing for the Tour this year...I'm getting really excited by it...

    Welcome to the forums Vers!

    Rich
    Making New Zealand a safer place :)

  6. #6
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    Yes, Rich, you are very much right. In the first stages of the Giro d'Italia Ullrich was not pushing himself to the bottom of the envelope, but in the latter stages he started to show more strength every new day. He finished third in stage 17 and 52nd in the general classification at more than ninety minutes behind Simoni. He was just testing himself.

    Then he showed his form by winning the German national championship last weekend. The real strength is with his team. Zabel is the only rider who is not strictly a helper for him on that bunch. With Livingston, Guerini, Klöden (especially watch this guy; a future star), Bölts and Vinokourov he can parry every Armstrong attack in the mountains. With Heppner and Wesemann aboard no one can surprise him in flat stages. And in time trials he is almost equal to Armstrong.

    Presumably there will be finales of mountain stages (there are seven stages that are at least hilly!) in which we will see a man to man fight. Armstrong probably will be able to climb faster on that small gear of his and his frantic pace, in which case Ullrich should not panic. If Armstrong tries to impress Ullrich too much he will eventually cave in in one of the latter stages like happened in last year's 16th stage to Morzine. Ullrich finished that race second
    1:37 in front of Lance, who came in eighth and looked like a corpse. The general time difference had given Lance ample breathing room, but I like to see what the mood swing will mean to the final time trial in case the yellow jersey is passed to Ullrich at Luz Ardiden.

    Hey everyone, check out the Tour's official website at www.letour.fr! This year it comes in five different languages!

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    As it turns out, Ullrich is just a tad heavier than I thought. He weighed in at 74kg today, whereas Armstrong is at 71kg. The team doctor of Telekom expects Ullrich to have reduced his body weight by two more kilograms once the first mountain stage starts.

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    How many pounds in a Kilo?
    http://www.ridemonkey.com
    Forums for Mountain Bikers, Snowboarders, and Climbers

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    A pound is 0.454 kilos, so in pounds both gentlemen weigh:

    Armstrong 156.3 lbs.
    Ullrich 163.0 lbs.

  10. #10
    Senior Member dirtsqueezer's Avatar
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    Good insight Vers. I think it would be excellent for US cycling if Lance can get 3 in a row. The competetion should be very stiff this year. I would love to see Beloki and Casagrande in the running for the yellow jersey as well as Lance and Der Kaiser.
    -DS-

    The plural of "anecdote" is not "data".

  11. #11
    Little Debbie Fiend Club KevinG's Avatar
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    You have to be nuts to think that Lance will lose to Jan. Im not saying that Lance can't lose, but to "der doughboy"? I doubt it.
    NADS #138
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    Go Medium Or Go HOME!!!!!
    Bob Roll:
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    Didn't Casagrande break his wrist during the Giro? I'm not sure he'll be in good enough shape to finish in the top ten. He probably wasn't able to train enough for the Tour.

  13. #13
    Senior Member dirtsqueezer's Avatar
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    Casagrande did fracture a wrist in the Giro. I'd love to see him in the chase, but that isn't a prediction! Here is some gloss from velonews on some of the top riders.

    rider info
    -DS-

    The plural of "anecdote" is not "data".

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    Thanks for the link D.S.

    Why does everybody keep saying that with Pantani out of the race it will be a two man race. Pantani wasn't going to be a challenge to Ullrich or Lance. He did not look great at the Giro and he is not the same rider he was two years ago.

  15. #15
    Just ride. roadbuzz's Avatar
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    My prognostications:
    At first glance, this year will be the Tour de Lance. One possible problem, with his performance in the Tour de Suisse, he may have peaked to soon, or pushed himself a little hard prior to the TdF.

    I think Ullrich has been playing his cards pretty close to his chest intentionally. At least two reasons... if he showed everyone how strong he really is, USPS would be on his every move like stink on poop (doesn't matter, they will be anyway). Also, it's just a bad idea... up until sometime late in July, he really only needs to win one race. Bottom line, Telekom is stronger than they've been letting on. The question is, are they strong enough. I wouldn't count them out.

    The first week, the big boys should be sitting in. Look for the division II teams to be vying for attention and points. There won't be any real fireworks until the time trials and mountain stages. Then we'll begin to see who's got what.

    Unfortunately, I suspect Xavier is right. The interesting racing may not be among the GC leaders, but there should be plenty among the KOM and sprint contenders. We might get a glimpse of the next Indurain.

    Victoire, thanks for the insightful commentary, but how could you leave out my favorite underdogs Kelme! Even without Heras, I look for Botero to show the other climbers how it's done on at least a few climbs.

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    I suggest Haimar Zubeldia, from the Euskatel team, is worth watching in the high mountains.

    I think Vainsteins will be wearing the green jersey by Tour's end.

    Yellow? I can't give it to Armstrong, as I chose Ullrich for a league team. I think Casagrande is not going to place on the podium.

    Your thoughts?

    -Chris Mitchell

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    Interesting prologue there. And yes, Botero made me eat humble pie. It's just from experience that I never go with the coming from nowhere people the subsequent year. For comparison, Christophe Rinero, Michael Boogerd and Jean-Cyril Robin once finished fourth, fifth and sixth in the general classification, but where have they been since? Botero and Moreau were certainly the class act in Dunkirk. Beloki was a pleasant surprise. He looks to be in good shape. But I was not too impressed with Lance yesterday. His upper body seemed to be alive, which is not a good sign in a time trial. Ullrich and Moreau seemed to have more composure. However, Lance is a tenacious athlete who almost always delivers. The yellow jersey is a lock, guys! I don't know who will have it in Paris yet, but O'Grady will have it during the first week. On va rouler encore! Oui!

  18. #18
    riding a Pinarello Prince orguasch's Avatar
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    Let Just hope Lance doesn't suffer any major problem on this race, and if he rides true to his form, he is a force to reckon with...
    "Racso", the well oiled machine;)

  19. #19
    Just ride. roadbuzz's Avatar
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    Sounds like the press has already started to fling the poo. The French are booing USPS, supposedly because Vasseur isn't part of their TdF squad. Press conferences are being scheduled and lawyers are "not making statements at this time." Sounds like winning on the roads is only going to be the least of the worries.

    Anybody want to lay odds on which night they will have midnight drug raid? I'm guessing the night of Tuesday the 17th, after L'Alpe d'Huez, prior to the Grenoble-Chamrousse uphill time trial.
    :irritated

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    I am very surprised with the Crédit Agricole strategy. O'Grady had his eye on the yellow jersey, but failed to compete in the intermediate sprints. Now bonification seconds will hand the yellow jersey to Kirsipuu. There is also another, not at all outlandish possibility. Another long breakaway by Jacky Durand will earn the Frenchman enough bonification time to take the yellow jersey. He's willing to dig deep, just for the French fan base, among which he is infinitely popular.

    The French fans did not give US Postal a very warm welcome in Boulogne-sur-Mer. The fact that this coastal town happens to be the place of birth of a certain rider named Cédric Vasseur sheds a new light on the matter.

    Check out what happened to Steels yesterday. One lapse of concentration, a missed heartbeat, and you're way behind the pack with gusting winds making it impossible to return. Anyhow, well done to Zabel who does not seem to need Fagnini as long as locomotive Wesemann is around. On va rouler! Bonne chance!

  21. #21
    Mr. Cellophane RainmanP's Avatar
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    A year ago I would have told you you were crazy if you said I would be fascinated by bicycle racing, but now I can't help it! I think I missed one day of OLN's Giro coverage. I will be out of town and will not have access to OLN for the last week of the TDF, but I will get to see the Alpine stages and some of the Pyrenes, I guess. I will try to tape as much as I can.

    Anyway, someone in an earlier post mentioned something that had been on my mind - Ullrich's playing it close to the vest. After his time trial, I was wondering if he had sandbagged to some extent in the Giro. I know he was riding it for conditioning, but now I think he held back even more, perhaps to make everyone think he was out of shape. He is looking pretty darned fit! I know an 8.2 km time trial is not the Alpe-de-Hues or the uphill to Chamrousse, but he stayed right up there yesterday. Time will tell, but Armstrong had better watch out. I think Jan is on a mission!

    I do think it is a shame Telekom didn't at least give Zabel his leadout man. I mean, the guy has won the green five years straight and could do it again. He has been a real bright spot on the team.

    Would Heras be allowed to take a mountain stage if it becomes obvious Armstrong will not? Or is he obligated to stay with the leader to the bitter end?
    If it ain't broke, mess with it anyway!

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    I think not, Heras is probably destined to stay put. They have made a deal that goes something like this. Heras will work till he drops to help Armstrong retain his yellow jersey and Armstrong will return the favour in the Vuelta later this season in order to help Heras retain his Vuelta title. People high up with US Postal have stated that it is unlikely that Lance Armstrong will go on for much longer, certainly not beyond 2004. And eventually Heras will become top dog. Right now, he's strictly the heir to the throne. It's quite embarrassing when the master helper has to pace himself to let the leader win. Look at 1997, when Ullrich was not allowed to go full throttle to let Riis win.

  23. #23
    0^0 fubar5's Avatar
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    I personally am interested in how Jan will do, he weighs more than lance, and he has had several a few bad years, but this year I think he will be a serious contender. I feel bad partially rooting against Lance, but I rooted against the Bulls when they were having a streak, I rooted against the Braves when they had a streak,I am rooting against the Yankees. It is just me to root for the next best, which in this case is Jan and the Telekom team.I listen to the race on the internet, but I don't have cable so I won't be very on top of things. I told my riding buddy we need to have a Tour de France party.
    Booyah!!

  24. #24
    Senior Member dirtsqueezer's Avatar
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    I've read that Lance will ride the Vuelta in support of Heras. I'll be disapointed if Lance changes his plans - as Heras finish Le Tour in 5th last year with Kelme and is looking to defend his victory in the Vuelta.

    BTW, didn't we see Ullrich acting as a lead out man for the Telekom sprinters in the Giro?

    Do the right thing Lance!
    -DS-

    The plural of "anecdote" is not "data".

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    Did I say 1997? Yes, I did, how silly of me! Obviously I mean 1996 when Ullrich could have won but finished second to the Eagle of Herning at only 72 seconds behind.

    And the latest interviews I have read with both Heras, Bruyneel and Armstrong indicate Lance will ride the Vuelta. But let's wait for this Tour to finish and look what they say then.

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