Professional Cycling For the Fans - What happened to aggressive riding in the tour?
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The trend in the tour seems to be counterpunching. This year especially no, so-called contender, went after the race they all laid back until the Posties made a move, by then it was too late. We need a Claudio Chiappucci or a young Lemond (circa 1985) to make the race. There are no aggressors in the race anymore. The result: a boring (so far) tour.
07-20-04, 04:09 PM
It has been noted in other threads that the USPS team's fast tempo riding at the base of the hills has stolen the legs from anybody who might mount an attack. I agree. The last thing anyone wants to do after pushing 20 mph on the beginning of an ascent for twenty to thirty minutes is stamp on the pedals on a 7-8% slope.
I can imagine everyone behind the USPS on the beginning of these climbs thinking to themselves, "THEY'RE GOING TO KILL US."
07-20-04, 04:15 PM
Vino would have given it a go.
07-20-04, 08:17 PM
According to the OLN commentary this morning, this Tour is the fastest to date. I guess the pace is so high that it makes it very difficult to launch attacks. Look at the way "contenders" dropped out of contention in the Pyrénées, only because the pace established by the Posties made it unbearable to most of the riders. Lance and Basso are basically the only ones able to sustain it.
The fastest Tour to date. The stages at La Mongie, Plateau de Beille and then, today at Villard de "Lance", were GREAT. How about Virenque's stage w/ the longest breakway in memory? How about the stage where Inigo Landaluze and Philipe Simeoni get caught by McEwen and Co. just meters from the line? The sprint competition closely contested by the old guard, in Eric Zabel, and the prime-of-his-career Robbie McEwen? How about the most crashes in recent memory, that impacted the Tour greatly and added excitement, albeit morbid excitement? How about the burning question of Jan's podium potential versus his close friend and teammate "Klodi"'s position? These are ALL indicators of a great competition and competitive aggression!
07-21-04, 07:08 AM
Aggression for the sake of aggression is a stupid waste of limited and valuable resources. A gc contender always has to weigh the cost of an effort vs the benefit. Lance, for instance, knows that his best opportunities to gain significant time with the lowest energy cost is near the end of hard climbs and on time trials. If he, or any gc contender for that matter, were to stupidly go off the front, even with their team, they would be chased down. Even the mighty Postal team could not hold off the entire peloton if the latter seriously wanted to chase them down, which they definitely would. A prolonged attempt at such a breakaway would burn many matches and probably come to naught. The reason Postal is able to control things so well is they no how to pick their battles. They don't waste energy when they don't have to. Energy is only a semi-renewable energy resource in a 3-week tour. If you burn 5 matches one day, you can probably only replace 3. Every day exacts an expense that can only partially be repaid. Spending more than necessary increases the deficit. If that extra expenditure has not paid significant dividends, it was a stupid waste.
Breakaways are for low gc riders who are willing to spend resources in hopes of a stage win, their only hope for glory, young bucks from weak teams who are sent off the front for as long as they can hold out to get valuable TV exposure for the sponsor, and team members who are sent with a break to help control it or be available to work for his leader later if the team can pull the leader up at some point. This worked well for Saeco on a couple of stages in the Giro.
I was a little surprised at Jan's attack yesterday. It seemed to work out in that he lost less time than previous mountain stages, but we will see today whether it cost too much.
You have to pick your battles.
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