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Old 01-06-04, 04:04 PM   #1
ParamountScapin
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Vande Velde to Liberty

Wonder if Vande Velde thinks that LA has shot his wad?!? Why else jump to Liberty? Surely not for money. Very interesting. Now USPS will need to recruit another climber. A most interesting year ahead. Especially the TdF.
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Old 01-06-04, 04:57 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by ParamountScapin
Wonder if Vande Velde thinks that LA has shot his wad?!? Why else jump to Liberty? Surely not for money. Very interesting. Now USPS will need to recruit another climber. A most interesting year ahead. Especially the TdF.
Why jump? More money? Better chance for advancement?

It will, indeed, be an interesting TdF. What do you think VandeVelde brought to the USPS Tour team? He competed twice and crashed out in 2001. He did good work for Heras in the Vuelta, and is a great rider, but I don't know if he would even have gone to le Tour in '04.
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Old 01-06-04, 05:20 PM   #3
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Nobody is going to beat Jan in '04 anyway.
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Old 01-06-04, 05:23 PM   #4
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Nobody is going to beat Jan in '04 anyway.
I don't think Jan is going to prevail in '04. If Beloki and Hamilton are in form and uninjured...
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Old 01-06-04, 05:31 PM   #5
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I don't think Jan is going to prevail in '04. If Beloki and Hamilton are in form and uninjured...
Beloki was never good enough.
Hamilton was never good enough, and he is too old.


I forgot that Vande Velde was on USPS.
yay, another climbing duo!
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Old 01-06-04, 05:36 PM   #6
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Jan wants it worse than anyone else including Lance. He will win. Beloki and Hamilton will never be within 2 minutes of Jan after the time trials are over.
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Old 01-06-04, 07:08 PM   #7
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Jan wants it worse than anyone else including Lance. He will win. Beloki and Hamilton will never be within 2 minutes of Jan after the time trials are over.


It is interesting to see everyone's predictions. Truthfully, nobody has a clue what the Tour will bring since many riders have just about equal chances now. It will come down to many different factors including weather and luck. I wouldn't bet on Ulrich any more than I would on Beloki this year.

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Old 01-06-04, 08:01 PM   #8
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Just ignore Sam. He's got some serious Lance hate issues to deal with.

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Old 01-06-04, 09:23 PM   #9
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It will come down to many different factors including weather and luck.
Weather.
Note it was overly hot in 03, which didn't help Armstrong.
I don't recall any mountain rain besides some mist at the top of Luz Ardiden.
Remember what weather did to Indurain in '96, and Ullrich in '98.
Another fair, yet very unpredictable element that can really change the race.
*thinks* The worse the weather, probably better for Liberty?
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Old 01-06-04, 09:35 PM   #10
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I think it may be Jan's year as well.
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Old 01-06-04, 11:29 PM   #11
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Spiders

Lots of spiders in Espana. I really think he is one of the easiest elements to replace on USPS. One good year setting tempo for Heras does not a climber make.

And all of you counting Armstrong out have forgotten; LA has a war face, and he wears it to the TDF. Beloki broke down crying iin front of a TV camera motorcycle one year in the middle of a stage when he found out he was going to lose the vuelta. Contrast that with Armstrongs bonk one year in the TDF on a mountain stage and determined ride to the finish. Last year Beloki showed a lack of tactical accumen right up to the time of his Tour ending crash.

Ullrich showed in 2003 he hasn't refined his style enough to match Armstrong's surges in the montains, and Jan overrode himself in the last TT, showing a lack of judgement. Contrast that with Armstrong's resourcefullness in the Beloki crash and you can see the difference in judgement between these riders.

Hamilton, well, it's just to hard to say about him, but he could be the guy who LA can't shake. He rides with an aura of ivincibility now that will cause all his opponents to look twice at him. The TTT will impact Tyler and Beloki the most since their TEAMS are unproven in this event.

LA sees all these subjective weaknesses in his opponents and rides so as to allow his opponents to expose themselves. He's good. Counting him out is counting out the favorite.

Vande Velde certainly will not impact the results of the TDF. Heras may, but not Vande.
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Old 01-07-04, 05:00 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ParamountScapin
Wonder if Vande Velde thinks that LA has shot his wad?!? Why else jump to Liberty? Surely not for money. Very interesting. Now USPS will need to recruit another climber. A most interesting year ahead. Especially the TdF.
You do realize that Christian has not ridden the Tour since 2001, and before that, 1999, and finished neither, correct? Yep, that's a huge loss to the Tour hopes of Lance and Postal.

Christian has not ridden a grand tour for almost two years. Outside of helping Heras to his second place finish in the Vuelta and a tremendous effort two years ago on the Angliru, he has done little. While a great guy, he probably has been the most disappointing American rider on Postal. Postal is too stacked. Christian cannot even get a look for the big races anymore (he didn't make the Vuelta team this past year). Better he move on.

Christian's bio

It's funny...they lost Heras and all I read is how this is the end, oh my goodness here it is, Postal unraveling...then they sign, in a mere 24 hours, a rider arguably a better overall talent than Heras.
Now, "Vande Velde knows something"....he has not even ridden with Lance in three years...it does not matter. Vande Velde has not ever even finished a Tour de France. Other than Liberty now owes Postal even MORE money, I'd be suprised if they go out and sign anyone of any consequence. Most likely, they'll look to a good stateside American pro to bring on board to develop.

Frankly, many of us thought he'd retire and go hang out with Vaughters...

Good luck to him. But he was not going to ride the TdF this year with Postal as he did not last year or the year before, or the year before.... so maybe he gets a chance now at Liberty.

BTW...there's a reason why teams seem to be looking to Postal to get riders. Even the ones that do not ride that much.

They are the best. Best GC rider. Best team. Best Director. Best Sougniers. Best mechanics. That's how you win two Grand Tours in the same year with two different riders.

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Old 01-07-04, 07:52 AM   #13
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vande velde comes from good stock (his father was a premier racer) and is a good kid from the chicago 'burbs. had the good fortune of spending an afternoon with his now wife and his recent marriage has settled him down and i think he is ready to get down to business.
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Old 01-07-04, 08:09 AM   #14
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Wow - how the threat topic changes! All of a sudden, no one is typing about Vande Velde's departure - it's all about who is going to win le Tour next year. Like everyone else, I have my opinion - but also like everyone else, my opinion means squat! Damn, damn - I cannot wait for the 2004 Tour! I don't know if it can beat the 2003 Tour for drama, but there are some VERY interesting story lines:

Everything from LA banging Sheryl Crow, to Roberto being a team leader, to Beloki riding for a French team, to Jan's reuniting with Telecom, to Tyler's chances, to Cippo's chances of getting invited (and if so, his chances of beating Petacchi!), to ONCE's departure to the TT up Alp d'Huez .... it goes on and on.

My VCR is already set.
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Old 01-07-04, 08:22 AM   #15
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I agree that Christians leaving won't make a difference
all that much (in terms of he can be replaced easily by
any number of good support riders), but I wonder how
big a psychological blow it is to USPS? They have lost
a good amount of support riders and we all know Lance
doesn't like to change anything.
I don't think CVV will do much with Liberty other than play a support
role to spanish riders (just my take on manolo saiz).

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Old 01-07-04, 11:13 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SamDaBikinMan
Nobody is going to beat Jan in '04 anyway.
Jan has a good shot... but I'll still be pulling for Tyler ! That guy is the bomb !

Jeff
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Old 01-07-04, 03:35 PM   #17
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VV Leaves

Hey nobody's mentioned that Postal has only 1 year left in it's contract. If that's the case then all of these guys, especially the older ones, should be looking out for themselves or they may find themselves out on a door step without a job. Even if Postal goes another year to bring LA to a 7th run, these guys may not fit into that fold.

So if it were me I would also look around for a multi year deal with a team that has a multi year sponsor.

Will it affect the TFD for Posties? not in the least. If anything it would work to advantage to have a sub-level guy pulling for Haras.

This year will be, without a doubt, the year that the top 5 battle like never before. Team tacticts after the TTT and a few flat stages will disintegrate as the leaders duke it out on every stage. We may see guys like Haras and Jan going for sprint wins to gain seconds on the GC. I think at least once we will see a team bolt off the front with 50km to go and try and TTT to the end to gain time for their guy. I can see the Postal train going like mad if LA gets a few sec down. Whatever happens it will be fun.
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Old 01-07-04, 07:31 PM   #18
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Hey nobody's mentioned that Postal has only 1 year left in it's contract.
Excellent point that I never considered.
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Old 01-08-04, 04:03 AM   #19
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Hey nobody's mentioned that Postal has only 1 year left in it's contract. If that's the case then all of these guys, especially the older ones, should be looking out for themselves or they may find themselves out on a door step without a job.
Except that several of the riders have contracts that last longer than the end of the season....and with Berry Floor, there are TWO presenting sponsors. Postal pays a bit more, but does not tote the entire load.

Lance's relationship with his sponsors (Nike, Oakley, Subaru for example) should trump any potential issues if the Postal Service elects not to re-up.

Don't worry...all is well.
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Old 01-08-04, 08:17 AM   #20
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I think Iban Mayo may win the TdF next year, the route suits a pure climber more so than ever before. Add in the new TTT rule which limits their losses to 2:30 only makes it easier for the climbers.

Mayo put 2:12 on Lance on L'Alpe d'Huez last year in 9 km. It would have been more if he wasnt showboating, but then again it may have been less if he was a marked as a danger man on the GC. He climbed better than Lance in the Dauphine Libre, and time trialed better than Millar.

While everyone was talking about Tyler Hamiltons win @ Liege Bastogne Liege, guess who got 2nd, only 12 seconds back?

Mayo

He's 27, and only getting better.
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Old 01-08-04, 08:21 AM   #21
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I think Iban Mayo may win the TdF next year, the route suits a pure climber more so than ever before. Add in the new TTT rule which limits their losses to 2:30 only makes it easier for the climbers.

Mayo put 2:12 on Lance on L'Alpe d'Huez last year in 9 km. It would have been more if he wasnt showboating, but then again it may have been less if he was a marked as a danger man on the GC. He climbed better than Lance in the Dauphine Libre, and time trialed better than Millar.

While everyone was talking about Tyler Hamiltons win @ Liege Bastogne Liege, guess who got 2nd, only 12 seconds back?

Mayo

He's 27, and only getting better.
He would have been more of a factor had Euskatel not stunk up the TTT so badly..
Of course, now Jean-Marie has "changed" it, as you pointed out...
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Old 01-09-04, 03:54 PM   #22
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Other than Liberty now owes Postal even MORE money, I'd be suprised if they go out and sign anyone of any consequence. Most likely, they'll look to a good stateside American pro to bring on board to develop.
You heard it here first...

Michael Creed from the former Prime Alliance...
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Old 01-09-04, 05:53 PM   #23
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But, as the Velonews article stated, Creed is most unlikely to do any real battle in races like the TdF.

But....am not sure what is going on with USPS signing all the young North American pro's (McCarty, Hyderdal, Creed) with only one year left on their contract. With all the prominent play Berry Floor is getting I am wondering what their contract/support really is? Anyone know?
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Old 01-10-04, 05:07 AM   #24
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But, as the Velonews article stated, Creed is most unlikely to do any real battle in races like the TdF.

But....am not sure what is going on with USPS signing all the young North American pro's (McCarty, Hyderdal, Creed) with only one year left on their contract. With all the prominent play Berry Floor is getting I am wondering what their contract/support really is? Anyone know?
As I said, they would not hire a rider of consequence (Tour level), but an American rider to develop (see my original response and also the second post). They have more than enough riders to fill the TdF team, and need no more. They do need more development riders..which is why they did what I said they would..sign an American development rider.
Even at the "pro" level, there is a gigantic difference between riding American crits and racing in Europe. And another step to Grand Tour racing. Their development riders will go to races like Tour of Flanders, L-B-L, Ghent-Wevelgem...even Paris-Roubaix (witness Antonio Cruz last year). USPS is running two teams simultaneously, and not only does the UCI HC type races, but also some lesser races with the other riders.
Hesjedal (not Hyderdal) will still ride mountain, and will do road as well. And Ryder is Canadian, not American.

BTW...Creed's deal is for one year. Typically, they do these in one year segments, especially at the start.

The team will not go away at the end of the season, regardless.

On Berry Floor..they pay a lot of money. Not as much as USPS, but still a good amount of money (even though they are a presenting sponsor, the logo sizes on the jerseys and shorts will tip you off). And, remember that many of the sponsorships are due to Lance..so how about another company stepping up? And it is not written in stone that USPS will not re-up.

I'll say this again...one sponsor has a year left...most of the rest are there because of long time associations to Lance (Oakley, Nike, Subaru for example). They will remain. And there are many. Not one. And there will be a team next year. Without question.

BTW II..somebody mentioned that the Postal Service might not want to re-up due to the fact that Lance and George are the only two American riders of any international consequence on the team. The rest of the riders are primarily Spanish, Belgian, management is Belgian...
The 2004 version of Quick Step-Davitamon was introduced yesterday...both of these companies are Belgian. There will be three Belgians on the team...Patrick Lefevere, Tom Boonen, and Johann Museeuw who will retire in April after Paris-Roubaix.

New improved website for the Posties

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Old 01-10-04, 07:47 PM   #25
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I think there might be a little trouble in the post office. I was surprised velonews didn't pick up that George was shopping around for a new ride this fall. Can't really say how I know, but Lotek will know. Sorry that one didn't work out.

The thing with the Posties (current and former) is that there are some great riders that could take leadership roles on other teams. No one's getting poor on Postal, but everyone's getting old and Postal is the Lance show.

If George, Floyd, Tyler and Roberto wanted to make a name for themselves and chalk up the big wins - it wasn't going to happen at Postal.

If Postal can duck the Gov's. OMB people being crazy about the amount of USPS money that goes to the team, they will reup without a doubt. USPS has shown that a corporation can take a team sponsorship and make it drive their brand. USPS probably gets a 20 or 30 times the return on their investment in the team (not counting TV ads) back in free media. Every time someone talks about Lance, they're talking about Postal. It's a really successful sponsorship -way better than that Cat in the Hat crap they were doing at Christmas.

After Lance is gone, that might be a different story.

My prediction for this year - We're going to see an epic race we'll be talking about at the Tour's 150 anniversary.

Time to kick back, pop a beer, put it on OLN and throw away the remote (or park the RV, crack open the cheap French red and make friends with the half of the Basque population on your side of the road).
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