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  1. #1
    Elitist Jackass Smoothie104's Avatar
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    Heras leaving US Postal?............

    from "cyclingnews.com"


    Heras to leave US Postal?
    Spanish newspaper Marca is reporting that 2003 Vuelta a Espana winner Roberto Heras is negotiating to end his contract with US Postal-Berry Floor in order to join Manolo Saiz' new Liberty Seguros team.

    Liberty Seguros team manager Pablo Antón recently said that the squad hoped to complete its line-up with "the acquisition of a very important rider" before the end of the year. That rider was originally world championship silver medalist Alejandro Valverde, but attention has now turned to Heras as a rider who might bring with him a chance of victory in the Tour de France.

    Heras is unlikely to be a cheap acquisition for Liberty Seguros. When Heras moved from Kelme to US Postal after winning the 2000 Vuelta, the buy-out penalty was rumoured to be on the order of US$750,000; terminating Heras' contract with US Postal is likely to be even more expensive, and Heras' salary won't be small either. However, the Liberty Seguros team is believed to have a budget agreement with the sponsor that is dependent on the personnel the team can attract. Directeur sportif Manolo Saiz therefore needs a high-profile rider such as Heras, and would be able to afford him.

    Liberty Seguros is yet to announce other sponsors such as a bike supplier, though Cyclingnews sources say Saiz is in talks with several Italian bike manufacturers.

  2. #2
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    If Saiz does for Liberty Seguros what he did for ONCE in the Veulta then Heras would be wise to stay with USPS. If he does go, best of luck. And, hopefully, it will inspire Lance to even greater heights.

  3. #3
    Elitist Jackass Smoothie104's Avatar
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    They are promising him leadership role @ the TdF

  4. #4
    Senior Member Xtrmyorick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smoothie104
    They are promising him leadership role @ the TdF
    I'd hope. Anything else would be just stupid.

  5. #5
    don d.
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    Start of the end game?

    I think T-Mobile might be willing to come up with the buyout to make this happen.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Piratello's Avatar
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    Best step for Heras to make.
    He has great abilities and could win the Tour or at least the Giro more than once. So why should he stay behind Armstrong ?
    If I were him, I would never have gone to USPS.
    Just for the money he sold some of his potential and potentialities of his future.
    celeste - the color of champions !

  7. #7
    Senior Member roadwarrior's Avatar
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    More on Heras

    This is interesting...the parent of the sponsor is a United States company. Postal stands to make a ton off the buyout which will put them right on the market to pick off another Beltran type rider. LS has, other than Igor, who else? I scanned the rider transfer/signing page on cyclingnews and found little. The money they spend on Heras' salary and the buyout would be, I would think, a large portion of their budget.

    The very low key Heras working with the borderline out of control Saiz? Interesting match.

    Roberto is very talented, evidenced by his two GC wins in the Vuelta. But the genius of Bryuneel's tactics did a lot to get Heras home first last September. Saiz ain't that smart.
    Last edited by roadwarrior; 12-03-03 at 04:31 AM.
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  8. #8
    Forum Admin lotek's Avatar
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    If it does happen (and the history suggests it will) I
    think it will be a VERY interesting Tour this year.
    GC contenders Heras, Ullrich, Armstrong, maybe
    Beloki (don't know if his team will be strong enough) and
    Hamilton will make things exciting to say the least.
    Personally I think its a good move for Heras, although I
    don't want to see him go.
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  9. #9
    bac
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    Quote Originally Posted by lotek
    If it does happen (and the history suggests it will) I
    think it will be a VERY interesting Tour this year.
    GC contenders Heras, Ullrich, Armstrong, maybe
    Beloki (don't know if his team will be strong enough) and
    Hamilton will make things exciting to say the least.
    It looks like Heras is going to make the move for sure:

    U.S. Postal team director Johan Bruyneel told Spanish sports daily Marca that Heras, who still has a year left on his contract, had begun moves to negotiate his departure from the American outfit.

    "A few days ago his lawyer told us that he wanted to leave the team," said Bruyneel. "Apparently he has received an offer of a three-year contract to lead another team.
    "We aren't happy with the situation, but if Roberto wants to leave there is nothing we can do to stop him."

    Heras refused to comment.

    "I can neither deny nor confirm the reports," he told Marca. "I don't want to talk about it."


    I agree that this will make next year's Tour VERY interesting. I also agree that this is a good move for Roberto, but perhaps not for Postal. Although, Postal will have some extra cash to procure another great rider or two.

    I can't wait to see next years shoot-out in the mountains!!!

  10. #10
    Crank Crushing Redneck SamDaBikinMan's Avatar
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    I'd like to see Heras on the TDF podium in 2004.

    I'd like it even better if it were Heras, then Jan in second, then Beloki in third, then Lance just missing a podium spot. The tour has been too predictable for too long, it is time for a change of guards.

    I've always felt Heras has the ability to spank Lance in the mountains anyway, hell, he pulls him along for 75 percent of the climbs anyway.
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  11. #11
    human velocipedio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Piratello
    So why should he stay behind Armstrong ?
    money. he is very well paid at usps, and has had a couple of years of guaranteed big purses. as domestique #1 at usps, he has earned more than most team leaders, and he's been given the opportunity and support [at least this year] to win the vuelta.

    i think a more telling question might be "why leave?" does he perhaps believe that the days of the big tour purses are over for usps?
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  12. #12
    Geezer Member Grampy™'s Avatar
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    Lance will gain huge chunks of time on Roberto in the time trials. I think that is without question (Other than the L'Alpe d'Huez TT). Can Roberto get it back in the mountains?

  13. #13
    Forum Admin lotek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by velocipedio
    i think a more telling question might be "why leave?" does he perhaps believe that the days of the big tour purses are over for usps?
    Interesting question, I never thought of it in that light.
    If he stays and Lance retires after next year I see Heras as #1 guy
    and having big purses.
    However, If Lance hangs on (and I don't doubt that he will) I can
    see the above scenario being played out over a few years.

    Marty
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  14. #14
    Lance Hater Laggard's Avatar
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    Though I don't see Heras as a TDF winner, if he stays on a USPS Lance team he will never even have a chance to win it all.

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    It is official! Heras has left USPS! um holy crap, '04 TdF heating up!

    http://www.usps-berryfloor.com/news....&co=USA&ID=244

  16. #16
    Senior Member parakeethouse's Avatar
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    HOLY CRAP IS RIGHT!!!

  17. #17
    Breaker of Spokes P. B. Walker's Avatar
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    Personally, I think the two riders from Euskaltel-Euskadi (Zubeldia & Mayo) are more of a threat to Lance than Heras will be. Both of them can keep up and attack Lance, which Heras can do, but they can also do pretty good in a time trial, as we saw this year.

    Heras will never be an all arounder. His only threat is the mountains... and even there, it's only the super steep mountains where he blows the field away.

    Also let's not forget, Heras is prone to be either coming off injuries, or sick during the TdF and is usually not at his best.

    I can see Heras taking a mountain stage, but I doubt he gains more than a minute on Lance, if that. If anything, all Lance has to do is hang with him as long as possible while Heras blows the rest of the field into nothing.

    In addition, it's clear that Heras won't have the team support that Lance has. So you can definitely guarantee he'll lose big time on the TTT... possible the whole 1'30" or whatever the max time you can lose next year.

    Unless Heras suddenly becomes a great TT'er, I don't think he's that great of a threat to Lance. If anything, he's risking pissing Lance off which isn't a good thing.

  18. #18
    Lance Hater Laggard's Avatar
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    Heras showed during the Vuelta that he's improved his time trialing. What I wonder is why such a talented rider would choose to ride for a team with Saiz as a director.

  19. #19
    bac
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    Quote Originally Posted by Laggard
    Heras showed during the Vuelta that he's improved his time trialing. What I wonder is why such a talented rider would choose to ride for a team with Saiz as a director.
    I agree with both of your points, Laggard. I didn't think that Heras would ever be a good TT rider - his pure climbing attributes seemed to always get in the way. However, he has shown MUCH improvement over the past year, and now has to be considered a podium condender for the 2004 TdF. Now, the TT @ L'Alpe d'Huez could be even MORE interesting!

    I've never been a fan of Saiz - and I haven't changed my mind after this year's display (and subsequent ejection) @ the Vuelta. I'm a big fan of Roberto, and if he has a good team, he will be a serious threat next year.

    I can't wait until July!!!!!

  20. #20
    human velocipedio's Avatar
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    i dunno marty... usps [the government department] is under increasingly heated fire for sponsoring the team. when armstrong retires, you can be pretty sure that the team will have to find itself a good sell-able american, or at least anglo, leader. usps [the team] could never have a spanish leader. heras knows that... and isn't the sponsorship up after next year?
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    Heras' departure may be a good thing for USPS. Of course, Roberto is a very strong rider, but his efforts in the service of another team will completely change the race dynamics. Hamilton and Ulrich now have to watch another contender, and additional tactical difficulties may play in the hands of the Posties.

    Cheers

  22. #22
    don d.
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    Team to beat

    While I think Lance is still the rider to beat in the TDF, this move makes T-Mobile the Team to beat. With so many other riders competing against LA, T-Mobile's job is getting easier. I will be very surprised if USPS can find another climber the caliber of Heras this late.

    Maybe they can coax Pantani out of retirement?

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    Also, being Heras' last year with USPS, they can get some big bucks for his last year buy-out. That will help them, as well. Next year's TdF looks like it will be anything but boring.

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    ohh how the competition for the TDF GC has changed in two years eh? Armstrong, Heras, Ullrich, Beloki, Hamilton, Basso, Mayo, Zubeldia...

    If Liberty's team develops well, I wonder who could challenge Heras in the Vuelta? Like others have mentioned, I'm skeptical about the benefit of Heras having Saiz as director.

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    oops double posty

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