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  1. #1
    TX Ciclista CarlJStoneham's Avatar
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    Are we seeing the (negative) results of Lance's departure?

    Before I begin, I must confess I have NOT watched the Tour at all this summer. Ulrich & Basso's suspension combined with a busier-than-normal summer made coughing up the cash for satellite a non-option. Perhaps next year....

    That being said, the little I've seen/read/heard has sounded very much like a "weak" tour. I can't put my finger on it, but it looks like some of the "good oles" are struggling (Mayo being a prime example) while it sounds like the overall shape of the peloton is surprisingly bad (hearing that 20% of the peloton would have been dropped ?yesterday? had they not shifted the cutoff surprised me). Again, I haven't followed closely, but it sounds as if a large number of riders figured "Oh, Lance won't be back this year so I don't have to train as hard. It's not like he'll be plowing up the mountain one day and I'll get caught by the cut-off." I don't know. If I'm just misinterpreting what I hear, let me know but it sure sounds like a "flabby" peloton this year...

  2. #2
    Seņor Member USAZorro's Avatar
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    I think you're not getting a clear picture. You're missing a very exciting spectacle. There's action and suspense aplenty. Riding 150+ miles in 100 degree weather is remarkably draining, regardless of your speed or condition. Going up the 5th climb of the day in the Pyrenees is not conducive to seeing the top 40 riders in the peleton battling it out to the finish line.

    Yes, there have been some riders' whose performance has disappointed to some degree or another, but man, I'm really eager to watch the next three days of action. I was glad to see Lance do well, but the tour has been kind of boring the past few years. I'd like to see Valverde and Vino adding to the drama, but even without them, this is great.
    The search for inner peace continues...

  3. #3
    TX Ciclista CarlJStoneham's Avatar
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    Oh no, I'm not arguing it's boring. I guess my question could be better framed this way:

    If Lance were riding this year, would we be seeing a more "fit" peloton?

    Just sounds like, suspense and excitement aside (and I know there's plenty), this peloton is the least fit in almost a decade. If it is, that doesn't detract from the excitement. It's more an observation based on hearsay

    And yes, what I DO follow sounds exciting. I wake up each morning with no clue who's going to be in yellow. By this point in previous Tours, Lance had it in the bag (except for '03 which was one of the best in recent memory).

  4. #4
    Senior Member Keith99's Avatar
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    Having stages where over 20 percent of the peleton would be eliminated is what happens every year on almost every mountian stage. What happened this year was a stage where over 95% would have been eliminated and it had nothing to do with the fitness of riders, just with how much time they let a break get.

    The idea that riders said no Lance I don't have to train is absurd. If anything things would work the other way. He's gone now is my chance.

    Quote Originally Posted by CarlJStoneham
    Before I begin, I must confess I have NOT watched the Tour at all this summer. Ulrich & Basso's suspension combined with a busier-than-normal summer made coughing up the cash for satellite a non-option. Perhaps next year....

    That being said, the little I've seen/read/heard has sounded very much like a "weak" tour. I can't put my finger on it, but it looks like some of the "good oles" are struggling (Mayo being a prime example) while it sounds like the overall shape of the peloton is surprisingly bad (hearing that 20% of the peloton would have been dropped ?yesterday? had they not shifted the cutoff surprised me). Again, I haven't followed closely, but it sounds as if a large number of riders figured "Oh, Lance won't be back this year so I don't have to train as hard. It's not like he'll be plowing up the mountain one day and I'll get caught by the cut-off." I don't know. If I'm just misinterpreting what I hear, let me know but it sure sounds like a "flabby" peloton this year...

  5. #5
    DEADBEEF khuon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CarlJStoneham
    If Lance were riding this year, would we be seeing a more "fit" peloton?
    I think it's really pretty hard to compare one year's Tour against another simply because each one is laid out differently. Add the whole upheavel of strategy in some teams due to having their captains taken away for one reason or another and you will see markedly different levels of performance. This year's Tour included some very long stages. And some of the mountain stages were horrendously difficult. The organisors really did their best to try and break the riders.
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  6. #6
    TX Ciclista CarlJStoneham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keith99
    The idea that riders said no Lance I don't have to train is absurd. If anything things would work the other way. He's gone now is my chance.
    Not necessarily. One could just as easily adopt the attitude of "If last year's training got me 40th with Lance and Disco controlling the peloton, the same level of training might get me 25th this year." Tactics for the past 7 years have been simple: keep up with LA and USPS/Disco or die. This year, there was no definite "Man to beat" which can affect training. If I know I'm going to ride through the Alps trying to keep up with Lance, I'm likely to train that bit harder just because I know it's going to be brutal. If I don't have a figure like that around which to focus my efforts, it can be harder to find the motivation to practice just that little bit more.

    Again, I'm not saying this is what's happening, just that it seems like it from the sidelines. However, I do think that assuming everyone trained harder since LA wouldn't ride is unlikely. Stars like Armstrong (and Tiger Woods, Andy Roddick, Mia Hamm, etc) tend to pull the other competitors up to their level, coaxing performances the others didn't know they had. More often than not, in the absence of such a presence the remainder sink to a level of mediocrity and then duke it out for "#1 amongst the also-rans". It's hard for the average player to maintain the level these stars get from them. Once they're not pushed, they tend to fall back a bit since a portion of their motivation came from the star, not themselves.

  7. #7
    TX Ciclista CarlJStoneham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by khuon
    I think it's really pretty hard to compare one year's Tour against another simply because each one is laid out differently. Add the whole upheavel of strategy in some teams due to having their captains taken away for one reason or another and you will see markedly different levels of performance. This year's Tour included some very long stages. And some of the mountain stages were horrendously difficult. The organisors really did their best to try and break the riders.
    Yeah, that's a good point. I honestly hadn't thought about it that way.

  8. #8
    semifreddo amartuerer 'nother's Avatar
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    Interesting theory but darn near impossible to prove one way or another. Maybe if the route were exactly the same as in previous Tours in which Armstrong took part, you could compare overall times or something like that but even then the resulting extrapolation is kind of meaningless.

    Anyway, who really cares whether they're more fit or not? I think it's safe to say that they're all many times more fit than anyone posting in this forum, dope or not.

    I agree with the other posters who have said that this year's Tour is pretty interesting and exciting to follow, lots of surprises almost every stage. I find myself more engaged this year than last when it was apparent that Armstrong had it wrapped up in the first week. I mean that was cool and all, but there was very little suspense.
    Can you pass the test?
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by CarlJStoneham
    Oh no, I'm not arguing it's boring. I guess my question could be better framed this way:

    If Lance were riding this year, would we be seeing a more "fit" peloton?
    I think we'd see a more competitive Discovery team, if Lance were still riding. As another post in another thread put it, "those Disco riders would rather leave their guts on the side of the road and give it all they have, than face the team leader at dinner, thinking they'd let him down".

    Put another way, they don't have the same esprit de corps without the clearcut leader motivating them every day of the Tour - but I think that's more mental than it is a question of fitness.

    Way more surprises in almost every stage, when NO ONE knows who the real GC threats are, so more breakaways have had a chance to get away, because no one team has been strong enough to defend the yellow and set the pace every single day, the way Postal/Discovery used to. You saw that in spades when Floyd gave the yellow away to try to buy a couple more days' (relative) rest for his Phonak team.

    I also think that sign of weakness by Phonak will mean even more attacks in the Alps. Some of Lance's wins were "boring", IMO, b/c the peloton KNEW Postal/Discovery would cover any real threat, and with the tempo they kept, few GC contenders had the ability to break away, and even fewer had the courage to try - it's demoralizing to burn yourself out and still not put time into the top guys.

  10. #10
    TX Ciclista CarlJStoneham's Avatar
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    Yeah, good points

  11. #11
    Baby it's cold outside... ViperZ's Avatar
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    I miss Lance and the Drama of Him vs the French, Jan and Basso. The excitement of knowing who the winner is going to be

    There is a reason I have fallen asleep while watching each and every stage this year..... It's been relatively boring for me
    -Trek 5000* -Project Litespeed* -The Italian Job* -Rocky Wedge* -The Canadian Connection*

  12. #12
    Senior Member Bacchusbill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ViperZ
    I miss Lance and the Drama of Him vs the French, Jan and Basso. The excitement of knowing who the winner is going to be

    There is a reason I have fallen asleep while watching each and every stage this year..... It's been relatively boring for me
    One of the hardest things in the world to do is to express sarcasm to a group who doesn't know you, without adding a disclaimer or a giant

    Without this disclaimer, it just seems abit like nonsensical, crazy talk.

  13. #13
    Baby it's cold outside... ViperZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bacchusbill
    One of the hardest things in the world to do is to express sarcasm to a group who doesn't know you, without adding a disclaimer or a giant

    Without this disclaimer, it just seems abit like nonsensical, crazy talk.
    Ehhh...? I meant every word, no sarcasm was intended.

    I don't know you either (could be because you have only 4 posts) and I don't understand the reference to a Giant, but I don't say you're talking crazy
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  14. #14
    Dharma Dog lhbernhardt's Avatar
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    One could argue that the reason for the perception of the riders not being as "fit" in this tour is because Operacion Puerto has put the fear of god into them and they have laid off doping in this tour, and the lack of performance-enhancing drugs is affecting their performance. One could surmise that this is why some of the prevbiously top riders are struggling behind the peleton on the big climbs. And when asked, they say they are getting sore throats because of the air conditioning in their hotel rooms...

    - L.

  15. #15
    Senior Member crankstar's Avatar
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    ya its defianately the no drugs thing affecting them. this is probably the closests to a drug free tdf there has ever been

  16. #16
    Senior Member roadwarrior's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by crankstar
    ya its defianately the no drugs thing affecting them. this is probably the closests to a drug free tdf there has ever been
    Why, you sound just like Phil Liggett!!

    "Nothing is so typical of middling minds than to harp on the intellectual deficiencies of the slightly less smart, but considerably more successful."
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