"The 33"-Road Bike Racing - Telekom(T-Mobile) 2004
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Does this roster look as intimidating to anyone else as it does to me?
Jan Ullrich, Santiago Botero, Alexander Vinokourov, Cadel Evans, Paolo Salvoldelli.
5 good big tour riders for the TDF, two world champion TT'rs and two more very competitive TT'rs. All good or great climbers. If they all make it to the TDF starting line, it's going to be a great Tour.
11-21-03, 04:35 AM
Yeah, all stars and no water carriers.
11-21-03, 08:40 AM
that would be cool to see them win the TT...
how long has it been since Telekom has done that in a grand tour? Have they ever? maybe 96?
Looks like a lot of great weapons that will be put to full use next season :D
11-21-03, 08:44 AM
Don, you are SOOO right, that is a VERY IMPRESSIVE roster..I hope Cadel dosen't get injured or have a bad season this coming year, like he did this year, he has soo much promise for the big tours..If all of those guy's and the supporting guy's make it to the line in July, it's going to be a heck of a race, US Postal is going to have a great clash with them it's going to be great to watch!!
11-21-03, 11:50 AM
After last year, Botero's a question mark.
Jan and Vino might develop kind of a Hinault/LeMond relationship.
Throw in Evans ego and mouth into the mix....
The sum may be less that the parts. Or more. We'll see.
11-21-03, 06:17 PM
Yeah, all stars and no water carriers.
really though, who is going to carry the water :p
11-21-03, 07:02 PM
I hear that.. looks like a great lineup... I'm gonna go forth and say that even though that is a great lineup... it just won;t work.. I can't see that much ego on one team working for one guy... namely Ullrich, at least in the TdF... Might be fun to watch though
T-Mobile is going to be a very strong team this year, I have some doubt though that after winning 3rd place Vino will want to ride for Ulrich. But Vino has admited that he is a stronger 1 week racer then 3 week, so maybe, we will see. If they do ride for Ulrich though, US Postal will have a tougher time dominating this year. Probably still will, but it will be much more interesting.
11-23-03, 01:08 PM
It is a powerful line up, but I'd say a dangerous one. There are way to many egos on that team, and with Zabel on it seriously who is going to be the domestique (sp?). You need more than three people doing that, and I don't see any of those six doing it. Also I say that this is going to help USPS. One Bianchi finished second in the TTT last year meaning there is not a whole lot of room for improvement, and where did Telekom finish last year (in the TTT)? Is one rider (Ulrich) going to make that big a diffrence? Second and most importantly with Telekom being this strong it is going to make Postal's life much easier in that they will not be the ones who have to constantly push the pace on the front. See the Tour (2001 I think) where Lance bluffed on the Alp Du Auez (sp) stage and Telekom drove the whole stage. How did that end up for them. I feel very strongly that this will help USPS, not hurt them.
11-23-03, 05:45 PM
They'll be a great team overall next, year, but in the Tour, they might just have too many possible winners. Ullrich will be number 1 not doubt, but where will Vino and Betero fit in? And the other three, all possible contenders? But if all five do go to France, imagine how the TTT will look: 1st T-Mobile, 2nd, @ 1hr 7min, USPS, 3rd, @ 17 hours, 43min, CSC.
Strategically, this team is made. Vino's friendship with Ullrich is well documented. They hunt together, Vino held back for him when Ullrich won the WCRR, and Vino came out last year during the TDF and said that even though he was in striking distance of the Yellow, He would ride for Ullrich against Armstrong. And Vino is making a huge bank for this.
Cadel Evans is not going to try for a victory in his first TDF. He'll try for a stage maybe, but he's T-Mobile's man. He really owes them for last year.
Botero came out in Cycling news and said he would try for a stage but he recognizes Ullrich as the team leader. he owes them for last year.
Salvoldelli will probably try for a Giro win and ride mountain tempo in the TDF for Ullrich. Hard to say about this guy. Since T-mobile lost Danilo Hondo, their Giro focus has become blurry.
All T-Mobile has to do is let LA defend the jersey. Make him chase attack after attack. Ullrich has to mark Armstrong and make sure he's there when and if he cracks. Then and only then should Ullrich attack. Under no circumstances should Ullrich make the mistake that Beloki made last year and chase down attacks.
Beloki is going to be a lone ranger this year without the help of that great Once team. The Spanish riders will be divided in loyalty between Mayo and Beloki. Beloki will have to do most of his own work this year and this will work in LA's favor unless Beloki decides to mark LA also and try to beat him in the TT's, not an impossible scenario.
Mayo will be trying to win the mountain TT and put as much time as possible between himself and Lance in the mountains. The final TT will be his undoing. I look for Mayo, Vino, Zubeldia, Botero, and possiby a few others to be the main animators in the mountains.
If LA doesn't take the bait or doesn't crack, and USPS is marking the attacks with Rubiera, Heras, and Beltran, then someone else besides LA and Ullrich should be wearing the yellow jersey after the mountains. If T-mobile can't beat them in the mountains, then it comes down to the TT, and T-mobile is prepared for that. Ullrich and Botero can both match LA.
Cyclingnews is reporting that T-Mobile will not be starting the Giro d' Italia in 2004. Looks like Salvoldelli will be rested for the TDF. Taking another look at their potential TDF team also shows world class TT'r Sergei Ivanov, signed from Fassa, and Daniele Nardello, no slouch in the mountains. Walter "the Beet" Godefroote is saying T-mobile has more depth than USPS. Hard to argue that. Their budget is reported to be 12m euros for 2004. This team is starting to look like the Yankees.
11-25-03, 04:59 AM
I'll take Lance, Chechu, Beltran, and Heras over those guys any day. Climbing-wise, it's no contest. Race is won in the mountains. You can lose it in other ways....but you win it in the mountains. Sorry....between the genius of Bruyneel and the abilities of these guys...remember that Ullrich will have to beat Lance up d'Huez in the ITT.
Great team, but not for the Tour de France. They'll win a lot of races. But not the biggie.
Can't wait to watch the Vino carry 12 water bottles to his teammates like Hincapie does.
Will Zabel be in the green jersey competition? One team is going to cover sprints AND climbs? Sounds like the reincarnation of Once.
11-25-03, 06:21 PM
I don't think that anyone carried water bottles for Ulrich in the later stages this year, so I doubt that it will be an issue in the future. However, I think the pressure is still in T-Mobile, and don't forget the weather factor. All we need is some heavy rain in a dangerous mountain descend, and Ulrich may be out of the race again. The variables are way too many, but it will surly be an exciting race.
No team is unbeatable, but T-Mobile and USPS by far have the strongest teams. There are variables, lots of injuries during the season, riders coming with bad form, and wheather. If all variables work out for both teams then I think T-Mobile has a good shot at blocking Lance, I think with all riders working for Ulrich they are the stronger team.
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