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  1. #51
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    Much as I respect Riis's tactical awareness, I was surprised his team was so quick to counter Ullrich's attack. The onus was squarely on USPS to bring back the break. By protecting the second place of Basso so nervously- the lead never rising far beyond a minute- they showed a somewhat conservative hand to USPS, rather than sitting in the wheels, then attacking themselves, after tiring Armstrong's team and testing it's leader's strength and nerve.

    Even by adopting this strategy, I doubt CSC would have profited greatly, although Basso and Voight are clearly still in great form. The alpine climbs don't suit Sastre as well as the pyrenean ones did, and he seems weary. You obviously need two top guys for a one-two punch.

    After the race, Ullrich told reporters that he wanted to 'irritate' Armstrong (with a smile on his face). Beyond the levity of his manner lies a tactical wish to adopt the approach of a Fignon, rather than an Indurain. Too little, too late for himself but possibly helpful to Kloden.

    Talk of collusion between teams should only come as a shock to our more delicate correspondents. It has always taken place, with either money changing hands or favours being granted or repaid.

    (the year Kelly sold the Tour Of Lombardy is still clear in my memory; bet he wishes he'd turned the offer down now.......)

  2. #52
    Bring the tech Ajay213's Avatar
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    Much as I respect Riis's tactical awareness, I was surprised his team was so quick to counter Ullrich's attack. The onus was squarely on USPS to bring back the break. By protecting the second place of Basso so nervously- the lead never rising far beyond a minute- they showed a somewhat conservative hand to USPS, rather than sitting in the wheels, then attacking themselves, after tiring Armstrong's team and testing it's leader's strength and nerve.
    If CSC let's Ullrich up the road they give up position on the GC before Lance does. And as much as CSC wants to win the race, I'm sure they will not sacrifice 2nd place to Ullrich.

    Let's look at the rest of the tour.
    Basso is 1:25 behind Lance
    Ullrich is 6:54 behind Lance
    Ullrich is 5:29 behind Basso

    I don't expect Ullrich to lose much time to the leaders between now and the ITT (the big question mark is the ITT tomorrow up the mountain). Basso has lost anywhere between 2 and 6 minutes on the flatt ITT's to guys like Ullrich and Armstrong in the past.

    Basso does not want to give ANY time to Ullrich if he wants to keep 2nd place (I doubt he'll lose 6 mins in the final ITT, but 2-3 min is very possible), Jan is very much in contention to grab 2nd place still.

    CSC may have played it a bit conservative today, but for a very good reason.

    Andrew

  3. #53
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    I read on the Spanish Newspaper AS that Basso stated he wouldnt attack Armstrong unless he is clearly weak. He said that an attack to win 15 seconds or so in a stage are not worth it. Either he gives him a big calculated blow or he wont risk to attack.

    here the link in spanish http://www.as.com/articulo.html?xref..._date=20040720
    Last edited by JimCR; 07-20-04 at 06:00 PM.

  4. #54
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    Andrew,

    my point was that Basso and Riis betrayed their conservatism needlessly. They clearly lack confidence to challenge Armstrong in the Alps and allow him to dictate tactics, helping him to control Ullrich, rather than attempting to profit from his enterprise. Worrying about a relatively distant rival and playing into the hands of the leader, on one's own strong terrain, with a smallish time deficit, is defeatism. By allowing Voight to work with Ullrich and obviously not aiding the chase, CSC would have created problems for USPS from which they would have been well-positioned to benefit. If you want to win, you sometimes must gamble. Basso's low-risk approach may not preserve second place and it will definitely not improve it.

    As I said earlier, I didn't think the attack would succeed but expected more ambition from Riis. The team prize and second place pay well, which is the name of the game but Riis knows how to dethrone a champion and it takes audacity, not a steady balance sheet.

  5. #55
    don d.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flaneur
    Andrew,

    my point was that Basso and Riis betrayed their conservatism needlessly. They clearly lack confidence to challenge Armstrong in the Alps and allow him to dictate tactics, helping him to control Ullrich, rather than attempting to profit from his enterprise. Worrying about a relatively distant rival and playing into the hands of the leader, on one's own strong terrain, with a smallish time deficit, is defeatism. By allowing Voight to work with Ullrich and obviously not aiding the chase, CSC would have created problems for USPS from which they would have been well-positioned to benefit. If you want to win, you sometimes must gamble. Basso's low-risk approach may not preserve second place and it will definitely not improve it.

    As I said earlier, I didn't think the attack would succeed but expected more ambition from Riis. The team prize and second place pay well, which is the name of the game but Riis knows how to dethrone a champion and it takes audacity, not a steady balance sheet.
    I agree with this assessment wholeheartedly. Bjarne should try to win this race when he is within 1'25" of Yellow. He has one of the strongest teams to use against USPS and I think he has a chance, albeit a slim one. I would be surprised if their team meetings are not filled with discussion of how to accomplish this.

    I was also surprised when Phonak's Santos Gonzalez didn't work with Jan in the break. Phonak had everything to gain by that break succeeding and nothing to lose.

  6. #56
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    Maybe CSC was playing smart by saving themselves for the next two days that have the potential be the most decisive of the race.
    I'm sure that they will attack like mad on stage 17 if they can... much more difficult than stage 15.

  7. #57
    Bring the tech Ajay213's Avatar
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    Perhaps I'm missing something, so explain it to me. But there are HUGE risks in letting Jan get closer to Basso than to Armstrong. Basso lost nearly 7 minutes to Mayo in the Dauphine (5 min to Lance - Ullrich is an unknown) and placed just barely in the top 30. He's not a TT climber. Basso has lost 2-6 minutes in ITT's in past tours, he lost 30 seconds in the prologue (in both the Dauphine and this years TdF). He's not a "great" ITT rider (compared to Lance and Jan). Basso needs as much time on Ullrich as possible in order to preserve 2nd place, let alone win the yellow. There is a HUGE risk in letting Ullrich up the road.

    Riis is playing conservative for sure, but for good reason. If Riis wants to win this Tour, he needs to be dealt a monster hand and bet the farm on it, and hope that USPS isn't holding something better. Look at the stages that are left, a really nasty mountain stage on Thur and a hilly/flat stage on Fri. Where is CSC going to attack? I wouldn't be suprised to see a CSC train on Thurs for a hail mary last ditch effort. We won't see Basso take off like we saw Hamilton did last year, he's to far up the GC for that to happen.

    If CSC would have let Jan up the road until USPS chased, they would have worn USPS out a little bit (but remember Lance had a lot of protection around him), but USPS has a "rest" day tomorrow for everybody but Lance (remember CSC is also trying to win the team classification, they can't ease up the mountain tomorrow), so then CSC makes the hail mary effort against a semi-weakened USPS, what is stopping USPS and T-Mobile from teaming up to make the chase (because by this point Jan will most likely be close to hitting 2nd place on the GC), much like USPS and CSC did today? Also do you think USPS would be that effected (remember at least 4 riders were at the back of the pack today "resting") by such a chase today? You also risk having USPS run right over top of you by waiting and turning up the pace so far that you can't keep up (and lose time to both Ullrich and Lance).

    Andrew

  8. #58
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    I was listening to the commentary tonight with Chris Carmichael, and he said Jan's attack today "neutralized Basso" on this stage.

    Can someone explain what he meant by that?
    I never heard a good explanation of that, and the discussion here about today's tactics don't shed much light on it for me - maybe because I don't understand all the strategic moves (team against team AND GC contender vs. contender).

  9. #59
    Mad Town Biker Murrays's Avatar
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    My $.02 worth:

    -Stage 15 was the most exciting stage yet. Those who think the tour is boring because Lance is in control need to choose a different sport to follow and spare us your blather

    -Seeing the likely top 5 all sprinting for a win was increadible

    -Lance showed more emotion on this win than any I can recall.

    -T-Mobile is trying to win. Thank you for playing, Jan
    (seriously, I'm glad they aren't laying down for LA and USPS)

    -CSC chasing was a calculated move that, under all outcomes, was better for Basso; Voight was clearly strong enought to help chase and tiring Landis a bit more would not help one bit.

    -Despite Basso being close, this is one of LA & USPS's most impressive performances yet!

    -murray
    "I feel more now like I did than when I first got here"

  10. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allen H
    I was listening to the commentary tonight with Chris Carmichael, and he said Jan's attack today "neutralized Basso" on this stage.

    Can someone explain what he meant by that?
    I guess that Ullrich attacking made the lead group keep the pace high to stay with him. And since the pace was high, it would be much less likely for more attacks to happen. (Because of accumulated fatigue from a harder ride, as well as the pace simply being too high to comfortably attack at a given moment)

  11. #61
    don d.
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    Basso was neutralized in the sense that the responsibility to chase technically fell to USPS, and if Basso did do anything, he would only help LA by doing some of the work that LA and USPS should be forced to do. So in a classic scenario, he could do nothing without helping his main opponent, LA; he was neutralized.

    Normally, when a threat to GC escapes as Jan did today, the person with the most to lose is forced to chase by the others around him. Lance has the most to lose, the Yellow, if Jan is allowed to gain significant time.

    But today, circumstances were a little different. The escapee was a member of T-Mobile, the team that is second in the competition for the teams classification. CSC is first in the teams competition, so if they allowed Jan to go, they could have fallen behind.

    The paradox is that at one point Voight, a CSC rider was away with Jan in the break and they would have effectively countered each other out with the same time at the finish added to their teams. In addition, with a member of CSC and T-Mobile away, and the chances of Ullrich improving his place, USPS would have been forced to chase and CSC and all the other GC competitors could have just sat in the wheels and followed. Then, when USPS made contact as they would be counted on to do, CSC could counter with an attack by Basso, hoping that LA ould be tired out by the chase.

    Or, you could look at it as a CSC rider, Voight, helping Jan in a breakaway get closer to taking 2nd away from another CSC rider, Basso, so why should Riis let Voight work with Jan.

    It is possible that Bjarne called Voight back to help with the chase to keep his team in the teams competition or to protect Basso's 2nd place. Actually both prizes have fairly high value in terms of publicity for his sponsor, but undoubtedly winning the Yellow Jersey overshadows both of them combined. Since he has a rider so close to the lead, most think he should ride for the Yellow even at the expense of the other two. He says in an interview recounted at www.cyclingnews.com that it wasn't the right time to press the attack against LA. He also insinuates that the right time will come.

    Bjarne has made some pretty smart moves as a Director Sportif, so we will see in coming days if the right time does arrive.

    Personally, I don't think Jan was doing anything more with his break than taking the pressure off Kloden, trying to make the other teams do the work to chase him so that Kloden, currently 3rd overall, would not have to do any work and have a little less pressure. If that was his objective, he succeeded. The reason I think that is that Jan is not a true climber and this was a climbers stage. He doesn't traditionally try to attack in the mountains; he follows and takes his opportunities, then capitalizes on the Time Trials. So it would be out of character for him to attack to try to gain time for himself in the mountains from the way I look at it.

  12. #62
    Elitist Jackass Smoothie104's Avatar
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    I wonder what Riis's Hematocrit is this year...

  13. #63
    CyclePath Crank It Up's Avatar
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    Another exciting stage with Ullrich's gutsy attack and Lance sprinting to the finish for another stage victory!!! Robin Williams was funny as hell!



    Tomorrows race of truth up the L'Alpe d'Huez will prove interesting.

  14. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by hdog
    So much for the boring tour predicted after Ulrich faltered and Hamilton dropped out. Man if Hamilton hadn't gotten injured...
    g'day,

    & if my Auntie had balls, she'd be my uncle!...Tyler woulda fallen off sooner or later, he always does,

    cheers,

    Hitchy

  15. #65
    CyclePath Crank It Up's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hitchy
    g'day,

    & if my Auntie had balls, she'd be my uncle!...Tyler woulda fallen off sooner or later, he always does,
    Don't kick a man when he's down (and lost his dog, too). Don't forget Tyler was the one who slowed down the leading group after LA fell last year! Good sportsmanship STILL stands for something!

    Have a nice day!

  16. #66
    Since Ever Since Devil's Avatar
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    Nobody's kicking Tyler while he's down. He always falls, and that's a fact.

  17. #67
    Senior Member (Retired) gmason's Avatar
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    I have posted some pictures from Stage 15 on my Web site:

    http://perso.wanadoo.fr/masong4

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