Originally Posted by Maelstrom
there overall pace (average speed) is faster than in previous years
That's the only explanation I can think of... the peloton is burnt out by the accumulation of two weeks of fast tempo. Thing is, it hasn't really been *that* fast, or at least not until the last third of each stage, when they decide to chase the break-away.
Maybe, just a lot of things just went wrong for the other big GC contenders:
Ullrich - too much weight loss too late, and too much effort to get TdSuisse win just prior to TdF
Mayo - peaked too soon... scoring new Alpe d'Huez record
Hamilton - there's no evidence of this, but maybe peaked too soon, plus dog dying.
Heras - the LS team is still in shambles from last year. Robertos training program just isn't up to snuff.
Beloki - seems to be his own worst enemy. I'm guessing he didn't have time to come back from last year.
Meanwhile, people nobody has been paying attention to come to the fore, e.g. Kloeden & Voeckler. Both European Nat. Champs, so they can't be too shabby. Basso has kept a very low profile so nobody has paid much attention to him prior to Le Tour.
That's an awful lot of planets that have to be perfectly aligned.
Or USPS has bought off all the other GC contenders!
Last edited by roadbuzz; 07-18-04 at 06:12 AM.