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  1. #1
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    I just figured out how to crack Astana

    If you are a competitor of Astana, here are the goods:

    In the tour there are these big "hump like" structures on certain stages called mountains, and the only descent riders from astana that can really take on the climbs is Lance Armstrong and AC. If you watched the Giro tough, Lance showed in the late stages weakness in the climbs. Levi in the Giro was worse than Lance in the climbs, and I don't figure Levi to be a great climber. So just from going by Lance's and Levi's weakness in the Giro on the climbs, the best time to attack Astana would be during the mountain stages and try to isolate AC. I love Lance but I feel that he could get dropped in the mountains, though it would be nice to see him dominate.

    Once AC is isolated it's going to take a combined effort from the other teams with GC contenders. I think the other teams need to literally gang up on Astana during the mountain stages. It needs to be a planned, organized and coordinated attack though on a particular mountain stage. Not sure if other teams would be willing to open the line of communications before the mountain stages, share tactics, however, and agree to a combined effort to attack Astana. And I'm not sure if that is even allowed in the TDF as well.

    I'm thinking if Rabobank's Menchov, CSC's schleck, Garmin's man, etc. need to combine forces to get their GC men back on top.

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    hi, this was a nice thought. Levi in my opinion is getting old, yes he was climbing very poorly in the giro but lance was working for him also so thats kind ' of xplains why lance sucked in the mountains. So i doubt Levi will do anything much more than trying to keep himself as up as posible in the GC classification as always do. Lance is coming back and as much he rides as better he is getting, i bet he is suffering more than before but he is getting better, so for sure he will do ok in the mountains.

    Now, the problem with what you say is that besides the shleck guys, contador, sastre, menchov, LA, kloden and maybe levi (based in what i said before, maybe) there are not more climbers/all around contenders for the GC. All of the other racers can't even dream how to crack astana in the mountains. If you are not a climber you simply don't have the legs to even follow a climber, or even dare to attach a climber, thats the cruel reality. Even if you try, after the second attach you are toasted, in a matter of fact the climbers wont even care about the attacks. They know they can chase just in a few kilometers.

    Only a climber can knock down a climber, if it was so easy i bet cancellara's team would be thinking right now how to keep the yellow even in the mountains, FC is a super fast man but all his power means nothing in the mountains, so it is obvious that saxobank not even in their wildest dreams will try to partner with other team to crack pure climbers because that could be suicidal for their intentions. I'm sure other teams are thinking the same thing, the problem with the mountains is that basically every racer is at his own practically.

    The best example of what i'm saying is cadel evans, he doesnt have a team and he is not a climber either. As it happened to him before, before even the start of the real climb cadel will be at his own sucking wheels (what else he can do?? it is understandable after all,). Other teams will face the same problem... so for sure no teams will partner to crack 3 or 4 guys who climb so well that miss 2 or 3 attaches means nothing for them because they can get those guys back only in a few kilometers...

    This year as usual in the mountains stages some people will get 5 or 10 minutes ahead and they will be chased like nothing by the climbers. The good thing about having the astana people getting so much time is that probably we will see in action to the schleck guys, sastre and menchov maybe before than expected. That will make the race pretty interesting. Remember the only pure climber in astana is contador the other guys are more like all arounders, so as much minutes they get the better.

    Thanks.

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    Wow, just brilliant. Now, if it were only that easy. Care to name the team(s) that you have in mind for this task? The one(s) with more depth that Astana. When it goes into the mountains it will become as has already been pointed out mano-a-mano. And then, we'll all get to see who has the legs.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ultraman6970 View Post
    hi, this was a nice thought. Levi in my opinion is getting old, yes he was climbing very poorly in the giro but lance was working for him also so thats kind ' of xplains why lance sucked in the mountains. So i doubt Levi will do anything much more than trying to keep himself as up as posible in the GC classification as always do. Lance is coming back and as much he rides as better he is getting, i bet he is suffering more than before but he is getting better, so for sure he will do ok in the mountains.

    Now, the problem with what you say is that besides the shleck guys, contador, sastre, menchov, LA, kloden and maybe levi (based in what i said before, maybe) there are not more climbers/all around contenders for the GC. All of the other racers can't even dream how to crack astana in the mountains. If you are not a climber you simply don't have the legs to even follow a climber, or even dare to attach a climber, thats the cruel reality. Even if you try, after the second attach you are toasted, in a matter of fact the climbers wont even care about the attacks. They know they can chase just in a few kilometers.

    Only a climber can knock down a climber, if it was so easy i bet cancellara's team would be thinking right now how to keep the yellow even in the mountains, FC is a super fast man but all his power means nothing in the mountains, so it is obvious that saxobank not even in their wildest dreams will try to partner with other team to crack pure climbers because that could be suicidal for their intentions. I'm sure other teams are thinking the same thing, the problem with the mountains is that basically every racer is at his own practically.

    The best example of what i'm saying is cadel evans, he doesnt have a team and he is not a climber either. As it happened to him before, before even the start of the real climb cadel will be at his own sucking wheels (what else he can do?? it is understandable after all,). Other teams will face the same problem... so for sure no teams will partner to crack 3 or 4 guys who climb so well that miss 2 or 3 attaches means nothing for them because they can get those guys back only in a few kilometers...

    This year as usual in the mountains stages some people will get 5 or 10 minutes ahead and they will be chased like nothing by the climbers. The good thing about having the astana people getting so much time is that probably we will see in action to the schleck guys, sastre and menchov maybe before than expected. That will make the race pretty interesting. Remember the only pure climber in astana is contador the other guys are more like all arounders, so as much minutes they get the better.

    Thanks.
    My original post should say "decent" not descent.

    But yah, I forgot Lance rode for Levi which probably took a lot out of him, hence the poor climbing in the late stages at the Giro. I guess we'll see if Lance really has the legs for the mountains though. I was thinking Schleck, Sastra, and Menchov or CSC, Cervelo Test Team, and Rabobank respectively, need to team up on a mountain stage and have a coordinated attack on a mountain stage, preferably on a stage where the stage finishes on a climb. If they can combine their efforts I think that will be the only way we will see any vulnerability in Astana. I would say Schleck and Sastra working together would be ideal, and Menchov perhaps if he has the legs. I've followed Menchov's carreer though and I wouldn't say he is a pure climber like Schleck or Sastra, so I doubt he'll be able to do any real damage.

    Any ways the main idea is to have a coalition of GC contenders that can climb Vs. Astana, and the attack has to take place on a mountain stage. And it would be best if the attack is coordinated and planned well ahead of time. Let's face it Astana is stacked, so you are going to need another elite team of riders to do any damange, and there just isn't another team in the tour with as much depth as Astana agreed? Therefore, from a coalition of Menchov, Sastra, and Schleck to launch a flurry of attacks at Astana at during a mountain stage.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by DenisMenchov View Post
    If you are a competitor of Astana, here are the goods:

    In the tour there are these big "hump like" structures on certain stages called mountains, and the only descent riders from astana that can really take on the climbs is Lance Armstrong and AC. If you watched the Giro tough, Lance showed in the late stages weakness in the climbs. Levi in the Giro was worse than Lance in the climbs, and I don't figure Levi to be a great climber. So just from going by Lance's and Levi's weakness in the Giro on the climbs, the best time to attack Astana would be during the mountain stages and try to isolate AC. I love Lance but I feel that he could get dropped in the mountains, though it would be nice to see him dominate.

    Once AC is isolated it's going to take a combined effort from the other teams with GC contenders. I think the other teams need to literally gang up on Astana during the mountain stages. It needs to be a planned, organized and coordinated attack though on a particular mountain stage. Not sure if other teams would be willing to open the line of communications before the mountain stages, share tactics, however, and agree to a combined effort to attack Astana. And I'm not sure if that is even allowed in the TDF as well.

    I'm thinking if Rabobank's Menchov, CSC's schleck, Garmin's man, etc. need to combine forces to get their GC men back on top.




    That "theory" has been around a long time, but it's never worked in any of the 7 tours LA won. Why? ...... Teams don't gang up and share tactics. Why should they? . . . . that's not what they're their to do. Every team has their own goals. You see teams chase breaks and share some work on flatter stages for a stage win, but that's about it. the mountains are whole different story.

    You may think there's all these riders that can attack, but when it comes down to it, few have the guts to try. Vino was one of those riders, but he often chose the wrong time and the wrong place to attack. Discovery/Postals theme was to keep the climbing pace high to discourage attacks, and it worked. Now, who knows if they'll do that with Astana, or if the Schlecks or Sastre can attack or be intimidated like riders before. I believe Menchov has not recovered enough from the Giro , where he had to dig deep to win. . . so he doesn't have much to attack with.

    I wouldn't let the Giro "training session" be indicative of Levi or LA's form. They are way smarter than you think. They know the tour is won in the third week in July, and everything before that serves the purpose of peaking during that time. Weather LA will peak or not at that time . . . . well . . .that's why they have a race isn't it?

    It makes for good viewing

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by DenisMenchov View Post
    the only descent riders from astana that can really take on the climbs is Lance Armstrong and AC.
    Contador, Armstrong, Kloden, Leipheimer, Zubeldia, can all climb, and Popovych isn't bad either.

    What Team do you think even begins to compare to Astana in the depth of climbing talent?

    It's going to play out the exact opposite of what you're suggesting.

    Astana is going to use its multiple threats in the mountains to wear down GC contenders from other teams.
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    Senior Member Keith99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Garthr View Post
    That "theory" has been around a long time, but it's never worked in any of the 7 tours LA won. Why? ...... Teams don't gang up and share tactics. Why should they? . . . . that's not what they're their to do. Every team has their own goals. You see teams chase breaks and share some work on flatter stages for a stage win, but that's about it. the mountains are whole different story.
    Bingo. No one is there to stop Astana, they are their to win or place as highly as possible.

    The closest to ganging up I can think of is absolutely no one being willing to help a team chase down a break, even though their own GC man would benefit if the break is caught.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keith99 View Post
    Bingo. No one is there to stop Astana, they are their to win or place as highly as possible.
    Astana will be tough to stop for sure, especially since many of the GC riders are on the brink of being non-threats after the TTT. But there's still a lot of road left. It will come down to a gamble on who to keep in check. The other teams still have to consider Contador a bigger threat than Armstrong despite current placement, and may want to spend their energy marking him on any single mountain stage with the belief that Lance will run out of gas and lose major time before Paris. Lance's and Alberto's egos are going to play into this too. I'd love to see A. Schleck and Sastre get themselves back to the top to make this more interesting. I predict the Astana monopoly will be broken up early next week, knocking Levi, Kloden and eventually Lance down in the standings.

  9. #9
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    I don't know what kind of shape Kloden is in this year, but they guy usually doesn't just fade away in this race. He lingers like a bad odor. Good luck trying to get rid of him. Of course he is a year older now. I am pulling for him.

    Richard

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    Lance and Alberto will be attacking each other on the first mountain stage, winner will claim that stage should decide leadership. Loser will claim its too early.

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    You may be right, but I suspect Astana will do much wheel sucking Friday. Lance may get yellow. Astana has no reason to attack. The other hopefuls must. If Lance or Alberto attack Friday there is indeed a rift in the team.

    Richard

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    with the breaks & manipulations that armstrong is getting into and coordinating, it recalls
    hinault in the 1986 tour. hinault knew that lemond was superior in the mountains and
    i think lance knows contador is better there too. hinault was going on the attack and
    carving out seconds here and there to put lemond on the defensive just as lance is
    starting to do to contador.

    will contador eventually hit the gas and blow off bruyneel, lance and the rest of the team?
    i think he will because he's likely very annoyed and tired of the cat and mouse nonsense
    of the entire astana situation this year. could see him detonating
    the field on the slopes to arcalis with 5-6 km's to go and staying away gaining a minute plus.
    contador will not want to wait because the longer the mind games go on, the better armstrong's
    chances to win an 8th yellow jersey.

    the only team that can beat astana this year is astana.
    you could almost heard the collective sigh of the entire peleton when they
    came though with the financial guarantees for the tdf & remainder of the season and got
    their stay of execution.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dubbayoo View Post
    Lance and Alberto will be attacking each other on the first mountain stage, winner will claim that stage should decide leadership. Loser will claim its too early.
    Not a chance. It's way too early to fight among themselves. They still need to put time on the field and they will do it by riding hard as a team and responding to attacks as a team. Once they've set everyone else back in time, they will fight it out with each other. I don't see this happening until the last few days of the race.

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    Andy Schleck to me is the only man that could have a chance of cracking AC or Lance.

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    well, well, well.
    The only problem with this theory is that Lance has perfected the art of wheel-sucking to a new level.

    First off, nobody should be able to attack, ill explain why later.
    My wheel-sucking comment isnt a hater comment. Lance himself has asserted time, and time again that he has "a template I run over and over again, and Im amazed it works".
    Basically, he will use the whole of the Astana team as sacrificial monkeys to pace him to victory. He did this for the last 7 tours he won, so why would he do it any differently? On top of that, its the same Team Manager, same team tactics should apply I suspect, heck, it worked seven times in a row.
    I dobt any attacks will be able to go once they form the Postal train, oops, I mean Astana train up the mountain. The only difference this time is that AC and LA are going to be the last two left at the top.

    I know this is an academic exercise, because its fairly obvious you really dont think they are going to crack Astana. If you think they might, you havent watched Lance wheel-sucking his way to victory in the last 7 that he won.

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    The only way that will happen is if there is a rider who gets extra gung ho, and I mean a serious GC threat. In 2003, Beloki really mixed things up with huge aggression in the mountains. His attacks set off the other guys, most of whom then looked to Lance to close the gaps. If they help Astana by closing gaps to other podium rivals, they will get what they deserve...

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    Quote Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
    Contador, Armstrong, Kloden, Leipheimer, Zubeldia, can all climb, and Popovych isn't bad either.

    What Team do you think even begins to compare to Astana in the depth of climbing talent?

    Astana is going to use its multiple threats in the mountains to wear down GC contenders from other teams.
    Obviously the only team that can compare as far as sheer talent is concerned is saxobank, with Andy Schlek and his brother. I think it's safe to say that the best GC contender that can actually climb is Contador, Armstrong, Andy Schlek, Frank Schlek, and maybe Menchov. Levi, Kloden, and the rest of Astana will falter. Once AC and Armstrong are Isolated, It's going to come down to Andy Schlek, Frank Schlek, Sastra, and Menchov to work together on a mountain stage that finishes on a climb, and plan multiple attacks to wear down both AC and Armstrong, so they can get back in the race.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DenisMenchov View Post
    Once AC and Armstrong are Isolated, It's going to come down to Andy Schlek, Frank Schlek, Sastra, and Menchov to work together on a mountain stage that finishes on a climb, and plan multiple attacks to wear down both AC and Armstrong, so they can get back in the race.

    How many tours have you seen or studied? Have you ever seen riders from different team make co-ordinated attacks to unseat a rider or two? I have not, and for the reasons I explained earlier. The Schleck bros. will not be working with Sastre unless a large amount of money is passed between the teams. Sastre didn't leave Saxo because he wanted to be on their team, did he? Menchov may have something for the second week of the tour, but by the third week he'll have nothing left. Evans will go along for the ride like he always does at the tour, but how much does he have left? The Dauphine was comical seeing Evans waste all that energy, while AC just followed him. . . . as if to say "hey dummy, the TDF is in July, what are you wasting yourself for?"

    The bottom line is I think the other would-be contenders are dreading the coming days. Maybe you can rid yourself of LA, but not AC unless he forgets to eat again and bonks. Kloden and Levi are total wildcards, what roles they may play will make for good viewing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Garthr View Post
    How many tours have you seen or studied? Have you ever seen riders from different team make co-ordinated attacks to unseat a rider or two? I have not, and for the reasons I explained earlier. The Schleck bros. will not be working with Sastre unless a large amount of money is passed between the teams. Sastre didn't leave Saxo because he wanted to be on their team, did he? Menchov may have something for the second week of the tour, but by the third week he'll have nothing left. Evans will go along for the ride like he always does at the tour, but how much does he have left? The Dauphine was comical seeing Evans waste all that energy, while AC just followed him. . . . as if to say "hey dummy, the TDF is in July, what are you wasting yourself for?"

    The bottom line is I think the other would-be contenders are dreading the coming days. Maybe you can rid yourself of LA, but not AC unless he forgets to eat again and bonks. Kloden and Levi are total wildcards, what roles they may play will make for good viewing.
    No, I've never seen different teams work together and make coordinated attacks, but that's what we will probably see happen if any of the other teams want to challenge Astana. I don't see why teams wouldn't be able to make a temporary alliance for one stage in which they could all benefit, and possibly dethrone Astana.

    I don't think we are going to see the same AC that we saw battling Rasmussen on the climbs, and I doubt we are going to see the acceleration of AC on the climbs that we did in 2006. Fact is, AC didn't win the tour in 2006, Rasmussen pretty much had that tour sandbagged. But that's another issue I don't want to get into. And AC has to deal with the Schlek brothers this time around, and might be even battling LA on the climbs. I think AC has already demonstrated earlier that he lacks the experience to win the tour this year, seeing that Lance leap frogged ahead of him in stage 3.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DenisMenchov View Post
    If you are a competitor of Astana, here are the goods:

    In the tour there are these big "hump like" structures on certain stages called mountains, and the only descent riders from astana that can really take on the climbs is Lance Armstrong and AC. If you watched the Giro tough, Lance showed in the late stages weakness in the climbs. Levi in the Giro was worse than Lance in the climbs, and I don't figure Levi to be a great climber. So just from going by Lance's and Levi's weakness in the Giro on the climbs, the best time to attack Astana would be during the mountain stages and try to isolate AC. I love Lance but I feel that he could get dropped in the mountains, though it would be nice to see him dominate.

    Once AC is isolated it's going to take a combined effort from the other teams with GC contenders. I think the other teams need to literally gang up on Astana during the mountain stages. It needs to be a planned, organized and coordinated attack though on a particular mountain stage. Not sure if other teams would be willing to open the line of communications before the mountain stages, share tactics, however, and agree to a combined effort to attack Astana. And I'm not sure if that is even allowed in the TDF as well.

    I'm thinking if Rabobank's Menchov, CSC's schleck, Garmin's man, etc. need to combine forces to get their GC men back on top.
    You obviously didn't follow the 2008 Vuelta, otherwise you would be more aware of how Levi climbs when peaking for a grand tour. He was supposed to be riding the Giro as support for Lance until lance broke his collar bone. Neither one of them were going there well prepared. Levi had already had a long peak to his season. Levi was climbing better than Alberto by the end of the 2008 Vuelta & Alberto was very concerned about losing the jersey. By the end of the 2007 TDF, Levi was also climbing better than Alberto. Alberto tends to get tired by the end of a grand tour that he has peaked for. His performance in the 2008 Giro was considerably different due to going into it without any preparation. He got stronger as a result rather than weaker. He may be going into this tour a little too prepared the 1st week. It will be interesting to see how he performs during the 3rd. Lance & Levi are going in fresher I believe. Lance will gain some strength & his next ITT will be considerably better. He spent most of his time between the Giro & the TDF at altitude which has reduced his strength according to Chris Carmichael.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DenisMenchov View Post
    Obviously the only team that can compare as far as sheer talent is concerned is saxobank, with Andy Schlek and his brother. I think it's safe to say that the best GC contender that can actually climb is Contador, Armstrong, Andy Schlek, Frank Schlek, and maybe Menchov. Levi, Kloden, and the rest of Astana will falter. Once AC and Armstrong are Isolated, It's going to come down to Andy Schlek, Frank Schlek, Sastra, and Menchov to work together on a mountain stage that finishes on a climb, and plan multiple attacks to wear down both AC and Armstrong, so they can get back in the race.
    This is so funny, I am LMAO...
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    Quote Originally Posted by McSpin View Post
    Not a chance. It's way too early to fight among themselves. They still need to put time on the field and they will do it by riding hard as a team and responding to attacks as a team. Once they've set everyone else back in time, they will fight it out with each other. I don't see this happening until the last few days of the race.
    I agree. Unless stage 7 plays out that they do the old postal thing with riding fast tempo up the climb until lots of riders are droped. IF they then drop all the GC guys that haven't alread lost big chunks of time (do note the if) then they might start a more mano a mano contest. But NOT an jump attack and make other Astana riders chase.

    There is one of the later stages with several climbs and a sizable flat after the last peak. If Astana gets 3 or 4 riders over that and they have dropped any significant GC competition we may see them try to keep or even increase any gaps by working as a team after the last climb. If they get that chance and can piull it off it could give them the entire podium. Normally one would expect a regroup after the final climb, but a lot of that is riders a little back being more able to work as a group. If Astana has enough riders up front the dym=namic may change.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by ooga-booga View Post
    with the breaks & manipulations that armstrong is getting into and coordinating, it recalls
    hinault in the 1986 tour. hinault knew that lemond was superior in the mountains and
    i think lance knows contador is better there too. hinault was going on the attack and
    carving out seconds here and there to put lemond on the defensive just as lance is
    starting to do to contador.

    will contador eventually hit the gas and blow off bruyneel, lance and the rest of the team?
    i think he will because he's likely very annoyed and tired of the cat and mouse nonsense
    of the entire astana situation this year. could see him detonating
    the field on the slopes to arcalis with 5-6 km's to go and staying away gaining a minute plus.
    contador will not want to wait because the longer the mind games go on, the better armstrong's
    chances to win an 8th yellow jersey.

    the only team that can beat astana this year is astana.
    you could almost heard the collective sigh of the entire peleton when they
    came though with the financial guarantees for the tdf & remainder of the season and got
    their stay of execution.
    Yup, I think Contador can ride tempo and crack Armstrong. Any acceleration will give him a gap. Sastre and or Andy/Frank Schleck will be the only guys who can hang with him.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by daveF View Post
    You obviously didn't follow the 2008 Vuelta, otherwise you would be more aware of how Levi climbs when peaking for a grand tour. He was supposed to be riding the Giro as support for Lance until lance broke his collar bone. Neither one of them were going there well prepared. Levi had already had a long peak to his season. Levi was climbing better than Alberto by the end of the 2008 Vuelta & Alberto was very concerned about losing the jersey. By the end of the 2007 TDF, Levi was also climbing better than Alberto. Alberto tends to get tired by the end of a grand tour that he has peaked for. His performance in the 2008 Giro was considerably different due to going into it without any preparation. He got stronger as a result rather than weaker. He may be going into this tour a little too prepared the 1st week. It will be interesting to see how he performs during the 3rd. Lance & Levi are going in fresher I believe. Lance will gain some strength & his next ITT will be considerably better. He spent most of his time between the Giro & the TDF at altitude which has reduced his strength according to Chris Carmichael.
    What kind of gear are these guys using to prepare?

    I wonder what kind of money they pay the guy who drives the bike in with the refrigerated panniers? He's probably the 5th highest paid guy on Astana.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Reid Rothchild View Post
    What kind of gear are these guys using to prepare?

    I wonder what kind of money they pay the guy who drives the bike in with the refrigerated panniers? He's probably the 5th highest paid guy on Astana.
    Silence Lotto & Rabobank obviously couldn't afford him

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