"The 33"-Road Bike Racing - USPS Team
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Now that Leipheimer has finished third in la Vuelta, what kind of lineup can we expect from USPS in the next major event?
Armstrong, Heras, Leipheimer, Rubiera, ... All legitimate contenders for titles.
Especially since Leipheimer was turned loose from supporting Heras after he showed so well in the early stages. Good on him!
10-04-01, 09:23 PM
I understand Leipheimer was being courted by some other teams. Let's hope he stays.
It would still make sense for USPS to keep them all as the only true contender to win the Tour is still Lance. Since Lance is smart enough to only race in the Tour, USPS needs someone to have a shot at the Vuelta and the Giro. With those other guys USPS will be able to make a run for the yellow jersey at either of these to other big events and make its presence felt more.
I respectfully disagree with the assessment of Armstrong being the only one capable of winning the tour.
I am going to assume that Pantani is history. That really leaves Ullrich and Cippolini (if he comes back) as top contenders to challenge Armstrong.
I think the real question is not "do they want to keep these guys". I think it is "can they keep these guys". Heras has won the Vuelta. Leipheimer is a little bit of an unknown, but clearly an up and comer. Rubiera is no slouch either. They could get offers from other teams that would be hard to refuse.
I think it is good news that Bruyneel let Leipheimer get out of his domestique role when he showed what he could do. If anyone leaves, I suspect that it would be Heras. He could, with the right offer, also bring Rubiera with him, especially to a big Spanish team.
I think I will just wait and see. :p
Lance is the only one from USPS that has any decent chance of winning the TOUR. I agree other teams have their threats as well.
Leipheimer came in third in the Vuelta. The Vuelta and the Tour are two very different events, as you can see when looking at the past and seeing how few winners of the Vuelta have to the podium in the Tour.
I doubt that with the economy being in the state that is currently in and will probably be for a while, that European teams have enough cash to offer riders huge contracts.
USPS needs to command a greater presence as a team and rely less on Lance to carry it. Keeping Heras and Leipheimer am sure are a primary goal of USPS.
You are correct, but that was not entirely my point.
They got Heras to support Armstrong. Which he willingly did. And if I remember the Tour correctly, he was a big part of Lance's win.
Without that kind of support, Armstrong might not win. He is phenominal, but can't do it by himself. What happens if Heras goes to Telekom, for example? Not that I can imagine that happening, but ...
In the meantime, think anyone will ever hit more than 60 home runs in a season? :o
P.S. You did pretty well in the Vuelta yourself. ;)
Heras is the second best climber on that team. He would probably be the second to last person they want to let go. As we all know, being a climber is the most sought after skill in the Tour. Heras was a huge part of Lance's victory and I think it was due not to him pacing Lance on the TTs or flats, but on his somewhat ability to hang with him on the hills. Telekom is rumored to be getting Jullich from Credit Agricole so it would be a huge coup if they got Heras or someone else comprabable to him as well.
10-05-01, 03:22 PM
since when has cipollini ever been a serious threat in a major tour? ullrich yes, but cipollini!!? he cries at the sight of a hill, never mind mountains. as for leipheimer being a contender, i wouldn't get too carried away. so many underdogs/no namers do well because there's no pressure, then fade under the pressure of being a 'name'. leipheimer was at the vuelta to help heras win the race, what happened to him? riders come and go from week to week, how many of you have noticed the dissapearance of the so called top names since all the drugs fiasco erupted? where's alano, rolf sorensen, alex zuelle, etc, etc? these guys were there all the time, all year. peter luttenberger, the austrian pantani, rode with pantani at carrera then was signed up by rabobank as their big tour contender after he did well one year in the tour. he flopped big time. and is anyone telling me that bjarne riis's win in the 1996 tour was down to brilliance? i don't think so, miguel indurain didn't lose his supreme ability that year, he was out done by a drug taking cheat. riis was a class act but he wasn't 'that' much better than indurain. not that riis was different form the others of course, he just took more epo that year. rumours fly around that his haematocrit level was over 60%. anybody who doubts me should read willy voets book, 'breaking the chain'. might open a few naive eyes to our wonderful sport. but i have detracted from the subject of the thread here, so back to leipheimer, yes he did good, but can he do it as a favourite?
Exactly. I saw almost all of the stages, and Heras clearly was the rabbit in the mountains. But he didn't quite have it as much this year in the Vuelta.
If the opportunity arises, I wonder whether he would rather be be second on the team with the winner, or first on a team that might be able to win - maybe even him. He did the last one willingly supporting Armstrong (who, BTW, didn't return the favor in the Vuelta).
And once again - it isn't them wanting him to let him go, it is him possibly wanting to take another offer if it arises.
Question: Given that my information may well be incomplete or just dead wrong but I recall hearing that 1 reason Heras came to USPS was that Lance would support him in an effort to repeat at the Vuelta. Of course Lance went to San Francisco. Any possible fallout or am I out to sea here?
I had heard that as well, but who knows?
And then Armstrong didn't run in SF after all.
Heras came to USPS because of the money, because of Lance and because of the support from the USPS team itself during the Vuelta. It was clear that Lance would NOT ride the Vuelta from the start. Heras did have pretty much everyone else at USPS backing him up at the Vuelta, which he may not have gotten somewhere else.
On another front, Rabobank is interested in acquiring Leipheimer (who finished fourth in the Worlds TT yesterday). No details yet, except that they may have made an offer already.
That is what I hear as well. It seems that USPS has made it clear that they can not match the offers from other teams and that they will have to let him go.
The USPS house has not been a happy home. For sometime now the key riders keep leaving. Why? Ask yourself this.
Lance made a public romise to back Roberto Heras. Where was he? Well his wife had another child so that could be a reason.
Now Leipheimer leaving the team. Why?
Good question. It seems that the USPS team is indeed more "strict" than most other teams and Lance seems to be in control of a lot of things that top riders at other teams are not. This lack of "freedom" may not be welcomed by the other USPS riders, though they seem to have gotten better since joining the team.
I think though that they are leaving because USPS got them on the cheap, made them better and now does not want to pay them. Plus, there are not a heck of a lot of other available riders out there. Heras and Leipheimer are some of the best.
I wonder who USPS will replace them with once they leave? Do they have something up their sleeve?
Any truth to the rumor that Lance is being courted by Cannondale? Heard it at the Vegas show.
Now Ekimov is retiring. There won't be anyone left.
I wonder ... if another key rider leaves USPS, will Armstrong? The quest for three Tours in a row is probably pretty strong motivation.
BTW - I have not seen the definitive news item, but Rabo is still sounding like they have Leipheimer in the bag.
10-26-01, 04:31 PM
Why are people leaving Postal? Maybe it's because (a) Lance's salary is $1.5 million + [probably closer to $2 million], leaving $3.5 million [or less] to pay everyone else on the squad; that means NO ONE can make a million at Postal except Lance. (b) Postal's whole raison d'etre is to win the higest visibility race; consequently, the team has one leader and one strategy, few other goals are taken very seriously [look at the Vuelta or the classics]. That doesn't leave a whole lot of opportunities for the other guys.
Can anyone beat Armstrong? Well, if he remains the one-race-wonder and focuses everything on the TdF then, barring injuries or disqualification, I suspect he'll win the next two as well.
But there are a number of riders capable of winning -- Dekker, Ullrich, Sevilla, Casero, Simoni leap to mind. Cipo would never be in the running for the overall, and neither would Zabel, Vainsteins, Hunter or any other sprinter. To win the Tour, you have to be a good time-trialist and a very good climber -- you also have to have a solid, focused team. This latter may ultimately prove to be Armstrong's Achilles heel.
10-26-01, 04:33 PM
Originally posted by gmason
[B]I wonder ... if another key rider leaves USPS, will Armstrong? [B]
Considering that his contract with Postal runs until the end of the 2003 season, I doubt it.
Leipheimer actually signed with Rabobank yesterday, so he is gone.
The good news is that the Rabobank 2002 team will be presented to the public at the Floriade in January. That is literally across the street from us, so maybe I will have a chance to meet him.
Hmmm ... maybe he wants to buy a house here. I will have one for sale. Hmmm ... ;)
10-27-01, 01:50 AM
Leipmeimer did go to Rabobank.
It makes sense, he is at an age and ability where he should ride for himself, he wouldn't have been able to do that at Postal without stepping on toes.
Ride for yourself
The 2002 roster was announced. Heras and Rubiera are both back. And there was a statement issued indicating "team support" for Heras in the Vuelta Ciclista d'Espana for next year.
Glad to be back!
Originally posted by gmason
P.S. You did pretty well in the Vuelta yourself. ;)
:confused: We have a pro cyclist here at bikeforums?
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