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Old 07-23-04, 10:15 AM   #1
rydwhite
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Lance's Best Tour?

Is this Lance's best Tour in your opinion?

He won by 7:37 over Alex Zulle in 1999
He won by 6:02 over Jan Ullrich in 2000
He won by 6:44 over Jan Ullrich in 2001
He won by 7:17 over Joseba Beloki in 2002
He won by 1:01 over Jan Ullrich in 2003
He leads Ivan Baso by 4:09 Today

While his lead isn't as big as it was in his first 4 wins, he seems to be more dominate than I remember in the past. Maybe it is just because it was close last year.
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Old 07-23-04, 10:24 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rydwhite
Is this Lance's best Tour in your opinion?

He won by 7:37 over Alex Zulle in 1999
He won by 6:02 over Jan Ullrich in 2000
He won by 6:44 over Jan Ullrich in 2001
He won by 7:17 over Joseba Beloki in 2002
He won by 1:01 over Jan Ullrich in 2003
He leads Ivan Baso by 4:09 Today

While his lead isn't as big as it was in his first 4 wins, he seems to be more dominate than I remember in the past. Maybe it is just because it was close last year.
I agree. Even more so if you consider the whole cancer thing and that he is one of the oldest winners of any tour in history. The guy is not human.
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Old 07-23-04, 10:52 AM   #3
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The age thing is interesting. Here's a breakdown of the ages of TDF winners.

1- 19
1- 21
5 - 22
5 - 23
6-24
5-25
10-26
10-27
11 - 28
13 - 29
8 - 30
4 - 31
4 - 32
2- 34
1 - 36

You'll see that the peak years for TDF winners are 26-39. The average age of a TDF winner is 28.8. Lance is 32, so statistically he's at the end of his TDF career. This does not mean he can't do it again.
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Old 07-23-04, 11:07 AM   #4
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Interesting breakdown:
12 won before age 24; only 11 have won after the age of 30;
63 have won between the ages of 24 and 30
(and only 3 have won AFTER the age of 32 - so Lance will really be off the charts if he manages to do it again next year).
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Old 07-23-04, 11:37 AM   #5
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I think that the fact that he hasn't had to attack to take his time in this tour is making it one of the more impressive wins of his career.
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Old 07-23-04, 11:42 AM   #6
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It's hard to say if it's his best tour, but he certainly hasn't been put under much pressure. Then you must take into account that 3 of the 4 major contenders going into the race have abandoned and Ullrich had one or two bad days on his own. His team is certainly as strong as ever, and probably one of the strongest of all time. He's had very little bad luck.

If you think about it neither USPS nor Lance have really had to attack at all like in years past. It has just been like yesterday when Landis just rode a tempo that nobody could attack. They've done that every day in the mountains. Doesn't make it quite as exciting, but when you have such a strong team and relatively weak rivals that's what happens.

All things considered I don't think he has had a more dominant performance in his previous wins.
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Old 07-23-04, 12:06 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laggard
The age thing is interesting. Here's a breakdown of the ages of TDF winners.

1- 19
1- 21
5 - 22
5 - 23
6-24
5-25
10-26
10-27
11 - 28
13 - 29
8 - 30
4 - 31
4 - 32
2- 34
1 - 36

You'll see that the peak years for TDF winners are 26-39. The average age of a TDF winner is 28.8. Lance is 32, so statistically he's at the end of his TDF career. This does not mean he can't do it again.
Thanks Laggard. I've been wanting to do this but haven't wanted to take the time.

One of the 34 yr olds was Zoetmelk who won when Hinault dropped out because of tendinitis in his knee.

This leads me to the single most confusing aspect of Armstrong's run. I have never seen a rider get better once he got past a certain age and Lance's performance this year is as least as good or dominating as his previous best. In my recollection, riders at this age have always had to struggle for their victories, probably the most famous being Hinault against Lemond and Merckx against Thevenet. As an observer, I came into this TDF fully expecting to see a repeat of this pattern, LA struggling against the likes of Mayo, Mancebo, et al. But that has not materialized. (Insert emoticon for confused here.)

This may or may not be attributable to his infrequent racing and the subsequent lower stress to his body. Their are those who will attribute it to "new scientific training methods" but I think that is overhyped since I believe history and experience contain most of the truths that science "proves". Now if new scientific training methods include technological advantages like Moser used or performance enhancing drugs, then that's another thing.

Anyway, while I picked LA to win this year because I think he is the best all around rider, LA's performance this year is more than a little bit of a surprise to me because of his age..
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Old 07-23-04, 12:47 PM   #8
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But is his performance really better this year than years past? Has he riden statistically faster this year than in the past? Considering how most of his oponents have dropped out this year he hasn't really been put under any pressure. And strategy wise the team has dominated, but part of that appearance has been because most of his competition has dropped out of the race.

Oh and Merckx was leading when he had his run in with a spectator and then fell a couple of days later (with broken bones in his face), I think that had quite a bit to do with his loss in 75 (as opposed to say Indurain or Hinault who just got beat).
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Old 07-23-04, 01:09 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rydwhite
Is this Lance's best Tour in your opinion?
Without a doubt. This year he was in the best condition he's ever been in, his strategy and tactics have been nearly flawless, he exemplies the word "team leader" like no other rider in the tour, and he has set a standard for his team's training and performance that are unparalleled. He also seems more relaxed than he has been and truly seems to be enjoying this year's tour experience more so that in previous years.

Of course, it's also worthwhile to suggest that Johan's skill and leadership as the Director Sportiff has hit an all-time high point... and then there's the team: The teammates on the road to a man have been incredible and the folks on the team who work behind the scenes have clearly been outstanding as well.

Bottom Line: If USPS and Lance have a weakness this year, I'd be hardpressed to figure out what it is. Sure, there are some warts but none of them seem to be all that bad and none have been exploited to any detriment.
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Old 07-23-04, 01:29 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ajay213
But is his performance really better this year than years past? Has he riden statistically faster this year than in the past? Considering how most of his oponents have dropped out this year he hasn't really been put under any pressure. And strategy wise the team has dominated, but part of that appearance has been because most of his competition has dropped out of the race.

Oh and Merckx was leading when he had his run in with a spectator and then fell a couple of days later (with broken bones in his face), I think that had quite a bit to do with his loss in 75 (as opposed to say Indurain or Hinault who just got beat).

Because of the roles of tactics and terrain, I've never placed a great deal of emphasis on speed of a specific race, but that's just me.

Merckx was leading in the 75' tour and lost over 4 minutes on the two stages to follow the punch, but then finished ahead of Thevenet on two of the remaining stages after that. He probably would have won that Tour but for his misfortune. Still, Thevenet was pressing him, more so than Basso is pressing Lance now, and had made up ~30 secs of his deficit to Merckx before the punch.
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Old 07-23-04, 08:38 PM   #11
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Is Lance all that much better, or is his team better?
with the exception of the TTs and one or two sprints
he hasn't had to go mano au mano like previous years.
This year the blue train runs all comers into the ground
and lance just "dances" over the line (with the exception
of Basso who has been able to hang with the best of em).

just a thought,
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Old 07-23-04, 08:57 PM   #12
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Marty,

I think that Lance is better than last year and that the USPS team is the best ever. I really haven't seen any truly vicious attacks this year and now it's too late.

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Old 07-24-04, 08:01 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ajay213
But is his performance really better this year than years past? Has he riden statistically faster this year than in the past?
I'm pretty sure he climbed Plateau de Beille and La Mongie faster than he did in 2002. And he dominated both stages in 2002.

I think it's all up in the air as to what year was his Best Tour win.
He nearly won the KOM competition without trying. He finished 2nd, 1st, 1st, 1st, 1st on the four major mountain stages. If they didn't have the changes to the Points competition (where mountain stages give almost half as many points...stupid IMO) then he would be right up there with the top sprinters. The team dominated the TTT, and he finished 2nd in the prolouge, gaining time but also not getting the yellow jersey. You could say that this Tour has went almost perfectly for him.

For the stages that "mattered" on GC - Five wins, plus the TTT win. 2nd on La Mongie, where I think he didn't try for the stage win for recovery purposes. 2nd in the Prologue. Pretty good if you ask me.

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Old 07-24-04, 10:19 AM   #14
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Looks like it's all over but the shouting now. There's no denying he's in top form after today's TT (Stage 19), and so is the team. I got a bit worried when Noval got dropped in the TTT, but he redeemed himself quickly.

Face it, USPS is not human! They can't be reasoned with! What I always re-learn yearly is that the Tour is truly an extended campaign of nine-man armies, with one badass at the helm. Postal made an art of the war and by anyone's standards, their performance has been stellar.

And I'd be equally as impressed had any other team exhibited such comprehensive strengths, so don't peg me as a Postal freak. In fact, it's too bad there hasn't been a stronger teams to compete this year.
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Old 07-24-04, 01:06 PM   #15
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Following what I said before... if the Points competition didn't award people for being too lazy to climb mountains, if points were awarded equally each stage (like I think they were years ago), then Armstrong would win the competition. This is without actually trying. And he is second in the Mountains competition, without even trying.
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Old 07-24-04, 03:25 PM   #16
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Like Roostalie said, the Postal Train arrived in France on its way from some other galaxy. They rode the TdF on a completely different level than any of the other teams. It was awesome to watch.

While Lance’s/Postal’s walkover of the competition lessened the drama of the TdF somewhat (and left me wondering what the heck all the other teams were doing while Postal trained together), it also holds the promise that other teams will rise to the occasion to take their cycling to another level.
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