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Old 07-26-04, 07:39 AM   #1
JimCR
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General take on the 2004 Tour - opinions

I think this was the most boring tour in years. Armstrong was outstanding, stonger than ever, same thing to the USPS team head and shoulder above everyone else or maybe everyone just much worse this year? The only thing i didnt like about Armstrong was his attitude towards Simeoni, I think he didnt show how classy a guy he is. All in all Lance's and the USPS professionalism and strenght was of the most positive things in this tour, well.. its not all the time we see someone win 6 straight tours.

El Gallo Mayo was the biggest deception, he fell off in that crash, lost some minutes and when he saw he couldnt win - he was totally demoralized. He didnt even bother for a podium finish.

Hamilton, was unfortunate (but isnt he always), Ullrich came way short in the first mountain stages, then he was too far to bother Armstrong. Heras, also not up to expectations. All the top guys but Armstrong didnt live up to the expectations..

CSC - i was dissapointed with their conservative approach, i couldnt believe they helped the USPS reel back Ullrich when he attacked... we all know the USPS were going to eventually catch him.

The Spanish Armada in general didnt put the great show they normally put.

Petacchi and Cipo.. hmmm not too good either.

Basso, Klödi and Voekler were the most pleasant surprises of the tour. Great showing.

I loved the Alpes D'Huez TT.. it was awesome - just a little more security next time.

I hope Lance comes next year.. it would be amazing to see him go for 7. I hope T-Mobile gets back Vino and between Vino, Klöden and Ullrich they can make things much more entertaining. Same thing with Mayo.. hope he comes back and is stronger mentaly. For Hamilton - a little more luck. ANd lets not forget Beloki...
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Old 07-26-04, 07:44 AM   #2
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While I agree with your specific comments I didn't find it boring. Yes if USPS/Discovery dominated too long it would become boring I thoughly enjoyed it. And I'm the worst soector in the world. For example I've been to 1 basketball game and 2 football games that were not local HS games.

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Old 07-26-04, 08:09 AM   #3
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The race for the yellow...boring. However...
I really enjoyed the race for the podium between Basso, Kloden and Ullrich.
I also liked the heck out of the White jersey race. I was hoping to see Voekler win that one. But they did keep it interesting.
As always the race for the Maillot Vert made for some good finish line sprints.
Where the heck was Hushovd for the sprint yesterday???
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Old 07-26-04, 09:26 AM   #4
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A poorly planned race this year. No ITT in the first week to sort out the feild. Too much time in the flats before the mountians and one flat stage between the Pyrness and Alps. The L'Aple d'Huez TT was a joke. The TTT was on a very poor route. I know the organizers can't control the weather, but the rain for the entire first week caused serveal crashes and took out far too many contenders (Hamilton, Mayo, Chippollini, Petacchi).

The racing in the last week got better, but it became the Lance Armstrong Show. His accelration to win stage 17 was remarkable. Everyone thought Kloden had beat him. Armstrong's off course legal battle with Fillipo Simonei added a bit of soap opera to the Tour that hasn't been seen since ???

Lance's bike in Stage 20 was pimped out more then Chipo has ever done.
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Old 07-26-04, 09:42 AM   #5
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Looks like the '04 Tour was planned to keep the yellow in doubt until the last week, since there was no ITT the first week, and time limits watered down USPS's TTT dominance.

Lance didn't take over until stage 15 - all his prior wins he held the yellow quite a bit earlier, IIRC. But, most of his GC contenders fell by the wayside early, too - thanks to poor weather, crashes, bad luck, injuries, etc.
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Old 07-26-04, 09:52 AM   #6
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I didn't care for the route. Though I like flat stages and the obligatory breakaway and chase followed but a field sprint, there were too many of them.

The yellow was decided way too early. After all the talk of an in shape Mayo and Ullrich and a healthy Hamilton, the race for the yellow was anti-climatic at best. Armstrong was not once put under pressure.

The green jersey competition was fun.
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Old 07-26-04, 10:16 AM   #7
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All of the crashes in the first week made the Tour look like a cat 5 club race. It was probably a combination of bad weather, bad roads, and nerves, but I got frustrated and nervous just watching it.

I wish there were more uphill finishes, too. I would rather see a road stage with a finish on a HC climb than a mountain TT.

And if they're going to doctor the TTT like they did this year, they should just scrap it altogether.

Those things aside, I thought it was a great Tour. The competition wasn't necessarily weak. Lance was just too strong to be beaten.
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Old 07-26-04, 10:34 AM   #8
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BTW-
can somebody explain to me how T-Mobile won the team competition when USPS dominated the TTT, and had at least 4 guys in the top 10 or 12 of the last ITT?

I assume that USPS does NOT have that as a priority at all - that they're there solely to win the TdF for Lance, period - but I still think they were stronger overall than T-Mobile.
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Old 07-26-04, 10:38 AM   #9
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It's the teams overall time. T-Mobiles riders total GC time was better than Postals.
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Old 07-26-04, 10:47 AM   #10
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Laggard-
how does that compute, when only Postal and one other team had all 9 riders finish - how do they "equalize" for the different number of riders who actually finish on a team?
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Old 07-26-04, 10:51 AM   #11
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I figured Lance would come to this Tour better setup than last year (or I figured he'd get completely beaten down). So his complete domination of the field wasn't suprising. And I'm not 100% convinced he was really going at 100% in the mountains this year, he put serious time into Basso (and the rest of the field) on the ITT on L'Aple d'Huez, but he couldn't ride away from him on the other mountain stages?

The race was still enjoyable, we got to watch another Green jersey come down to the wire, we watched the KOM win for a record, the white jersey came down to the line as well.

I'm a little disappointed in the GC competition, not because Lance won, but because we lost most of the GC contenders due to crashes. But past that there was a lot of movement in the top 10 in the final week of the race...just not at the top spot.

Next year I'd like to see a return to a more "normal" route, I'd like them to keep the TTT, but if they're concerned about time lost then make the stage shorter and put a cap on total time, the TTT this year really was kind of a joke and the rules really were screwy (ask Simoni what he thinks).

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Old 07-26-04, 10:52 AM   #12
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The team competition is the time from the top 3 riders IIRC.

Edit - I don't think it's that either as the times don't add up (or I made a mistake in Excel).

Last edited by Ajay213; 07-26-04 at 11:12 AM.
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Old 07-26-04, 11:59 AM   #13
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Ajay is correct. It's the top 3 riders from each team. T-Mobile had riders in 2nd, 4th and 25th. Postal had riders in 1st, 5th and 19th.
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Old 07-26-04, 12:16 PM   #14
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On placing, Postal should have won, then. Postal also had a 4th rider at 23rd, ahead of T-Mobile's 3rd rider in 25th.

And the time gaps respectively for the top 3 riders favor Postal by 6:19, T-Mobile by 5:40, and Postal by 14:17 - so Postal actually had better times for their top 3 riders by over 15 minutes, by that measure, so it CAN'T be just the top 3 times.

Anyone else who can help?
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Old 07-26-04, 12:26 PM   #15
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I believe it is the 3 best riders from each stage. The three best riders times from each stage is added to the previous accumulated times for all stages to calculate the Teams competition total. So, it would be the first three from stage 1, then the first three from stage 2 would be added to the total of the first three from stage 1, and so on and so on.

Botero effectively won the Teams competition for T-Mobile in that break he got into that Aitor Gonzalez won I forget which stage. CSC and USPS had no one in that break and I believe it finished ~6 minuts up on the pack.
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Old 07-26-04, 12:43 PM   #16
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Here is the official word;

Quote:
e) GENERAL TEAM CLASSIFICATION
The general team classification is determined by adding each team's best three individual times for the prologue and every stage.
In the event of a tie in the general classification, the order of teams is determined based on the number of stage wins by team, then their number of second places, and so on until a number of places obtained by one of them enables them to be finally placed.
A team reduced to fewer than 3 riders is eliminated from the general team classification.
Sounds like Don hit it on the head.

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Old 07-26-04, 01:07 PM   #17
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Interesting that it's stage-by-stage, not overall or cumulative.

Postal beat T-Mobile by over 15 minutes overall, but lost by over 2 minutes stage-by-stage.

Thanks, Don & Ajay, for the clarification.
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Old 07-26-04, 01:11 PM   #18
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That's the most T.V I've watched since becoming a cyclist.

I MAY even buy a road bike now. .....Naw.

Ya LANCE!! An athlete of a centurey I'd say.
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Old 07-26-04, 01:49 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by DieselDan
A poorly planned race this year. No ITT in the first week to sort out the feild. Too much time in the flats before the mountians and one flat stage between the Pyrness and Alps. The L'Aple d'Huez TT was a joke. The TTT was on a very poor route. I know the organizers can't control the weather, but the rain for the entire first week caused serveal crashes and took out far too many contenders (Hamilton, Mayo, Chippollini, Petacchi).

The racing in the last week got better, but it became the Lance Armstrong Show. His accelration to win stage 17 was remarkable. Everyone thought Kloden had beat him. Armstrong's off course legal battle with Fillipo Simonei added a bit of soap opera to the Tour that hasn't been seen since ???

Lance's bike in Stage 20 was pimped out more then Chipo has ever done.

Ain't no way anyone can out-pimp Cipo- I think Lance probably came a close second, but unless he gives us some more skin or shows us a little more anatomy, Lance won't quite out-pimp Cipo. But he sure came close, huh? Oh Cipo... bring back the muscle suit!

Why the organizers have to have so many finishes that wind rather than go in a straight line is puzzling. And the roads wind with more than 1 km to the finish, so there's way too much risk for crashes. What, they're looking to create the drama by making the finish line more dangerous for the riders? Sheesh!

Could organizers have actually used the brains God gave them and realized how messed up that ITT up Alps d'Huez would be without extra security? With only 15 km to cover, they could have very easily put up barriers for the entire route. And what? No police in France? If they really wanted to do a time trial on a mountain of this steepness, they should have known enough to saturate that hill with as many cops as possible, especially knowing how many people would potentially fit on the hill. Echoing Lance's sentiments, I hope they never do a time trial like that again. They've proven that they can't really keep control of the events surrounding it, so why bother to try?

I kind of expected Cipo to drop out. What else is new? Dood is getting old, and hills ain't his specialty. Sure he fell, but there's always an excuse for him. I still got nothin' but love for him- maybe I'll see him race next year, since I will probably be at the Giro for the entire race, not just the last 4 or 5 stages. I have yet to see him race in person, but I still schedule my races, ever faithful that one day I'll get a glince of the Italian stud! P.S. Loved his pre-scissors, prologue outfit!

I liked seeing the young scrappers duking it out for the white jersey. It's interesting to see the newbies and the potential new blood for the next generation of riders.

Koffee
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Old 07-26-04, 02:54 PM   #20
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Brioches la Boulangere could be an up & coming team: they had THREE of the top 7 in the white jersey competition (Voeckler, Jerome, and Chavanel), and 4 of the top 17.

And the team still was 9th overall, of the 21 teams.
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Old 07-26-04, 02:59 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Allen H
Interesting that it's stage-by-stage, not overall or cumulative.

Postal beat T-Mobile by over 15 minutes overall, but lost by over 2 minutes stage-by-stage.

Thanks, Don & Ajay, for the clarification.
I believe it's calculated this way to provide an incentive for the teams to work hard each day.
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Old 07-26-04, 03:26 PM   #22
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Devil's advocate.

I thought it was captivating. The GC was a wild card for how many days? How many different riders wore the Yellow Jersey? How many different riders won stages or contested the finishes? The Green & White Jersey competitions were how close? The 2nd and 3rd place podium spots were decided during what stage? How many viewers were surprised by how "nervous" the peloton was and the results thereof? In my warped view, there was a lot of drama playing out if you watched the entire race and didn't get too sucked into the Tour de Lance. If all you wanted to see what a different outcome or a major challenge to Lance for the GC, then you set yourselves up for disappointment from the get-go. Lance so much as told the world to look out last year when he just about apologized for winning the tour with such poor form. Regardless of how much warning his peers were given, access to his training regime via books and reality TV shows, they still didn't show up with their best game: can you say Prologue Time Trial? Baring the act of a wild fan or crash, the writing was on the wall for the GC. As for the specific notes...

Le Tour is reknown for making changes that "shake things up" that could be perceived as creating a long-standing formula that favors one type of rider vs another: this year is a prime example of that tradition. Frankly, I think it keeps it interesting and adds a wild-card dimension to the event.

As much as some riders didn't like the cobbles, they were certainly interesting and challenged the participants in a way that they hadn't seen at Le Tour in quite some time. While some might argue they were inappropriate and placed certain riders at a disadvantage, Robbie McEwen got it right when he made a great analogy to another daunting obstacle that places certain riders at a disadvantage: the mountain stages, i.e., if they removed them then HE could with Le Tour.

Team Time Trial & Timing... that wasn't the first time rules regarding max time that could be lost were imposed during the TTT at Le Tour. If you go back far enough you'll find there were a few years where there were multiple Team Time Trials as well. Do some additional history checking and you'll find where the teams were made up of riders based on nationality, not as multi-national trade teams trying to buy the best talent. Hey, and how about those years when riders had to use the same bicycles, all yellow and issued by Le Tour to eliminate any technological advantage? Yup, Le Tour does have many faces and, thankfully, it will continue to change and evolve (Honestly, how do people go to the Indy 500 or Daytona year and after year and watch cars go around in circles).

No ITT in the first week and long, painful, energy sapping stages that took their toll on the GC climbers... yeah, it made for some nasty crashes but Lady Luck is fickle. Why one rider goes down and another doesn't is sometimes hard to rationalize but that's racing and it does beg the question, do you make your own luck?

ITT up the Alp DH; interesting way to shake things up but, as just about everyone involved in Le Tour has not observed, "Boy, was that a bad idea." On the brightside, as much anxiety as it produced, none of the riders appeared to have been fouled or hurt... thankfully. Moreover, it begs the question regarding overall road access through all of the mountain and TT stages. I think the Alp DH merely highlighted the problem with TV camera coverage at events like Le Tour where many (but certainly not all) spectators are moved to do things they wouldn't do if the camera wasn't there... much like the road painting and Helicopter coverage. It will be interesting to see what happens next year if and when Lance sits out Le Tour and sets his sights on the Giro and/or the Vuelta, or perhaps (???) even the World Championships (noting that he didn't wear his World Champ colors on this year's jersey) or the hour record. There are a lot of events I'm sure Lance would like to add to his palmares while he has the form. Not to mention, I'm sure the organizers and sponsors of the other events would love to have the media coverage that Le Tour has enjoyed with the Boss focused on the big prize.

Simonei? Just too bizarre. I have my own theories and can appreciate how the "Peloton" has grown weary of being labelled nothing more than chemistry run amok by broad, non-specific allegations and innuendo and might want to take a stand against that type of media-driven indictment. And, in that light, I think Armstrong is correct in that dismissing the efforts and accomplishments of "everyone in professional cycling" does hurt cycling when it may, in fact, be just a few hold-overs from the years when doping threatened to consume the sport or a rogue element within a team that has wandered afoul of the rules.

As for some of the other aspects of Le Tour, Phil Liggett & Paul Sherwin noted time and again how outstanding the new, young riders were. That WAS a high point. There is some real depth in the Peloton from both this side of the Atlantic and the more traditional European countries.

As for Lance's overly enthusiastic sponsors, what can you say: it WAS over the top. But, Cippo's kits and bikes will always be the wildest ones and make what Lance was riding appear tame... Can you recall the tiger stripe body suits, the muscle suit, the TRON suit, and those matching bikes? Geez, I'm gonna miss Cippo's panache and flair.

Anyway, I think it's all about meeting expectations and what you were looking to extract from the tour. Yeah, there were some sleepy stages but, frankly, there always are. My wife and I were more than happy with the event and thankful for video and digital recording technology which is the ONLY way to watch it when you can't be there or catch it live.

Last edited by livngood; 07-26-04 at 03:37 PM.
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Old 07-26-04, 07:41 PM   #23
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g'day,

contrary to the previous post.....I can sum the tour up in one word..."predictable".....Lance wins 'again'....the pre tour big talkers, fall away 'again'......UPS has the strongest team,'again'....Tyler falls off 'again', Jan has been in a good paddock all winter 'again', Aussies fight out the green Oi Oi Oi 'again' riders caught up in doping scandals 'again'.......I shoulda watched my DVD of last years TDF & saved myself 3 weeks LOL,

cheers,

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Old 07-26-04, 07:48 PM   #24
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"Pimped" out refers to a Wast Coast Hip-Hop style of decorating a car. I wouldn't call anything Chipo does as "pimped" but "Euro-tech".
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Old 07-27-04, 11:04 AM   #25
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Pimped out is anything that's over the top bling bling. I don't care about origin, all I know is that Cipo was doing this way before the livestrong bike came out- which by the way, looks more like a Schlitz malt liquor logo than anything else.

As far the TTT, I always love watching 9 dudes in motion. It's good stuff! I don't care if no one crashes, how close the race was, or whatever. I just really appreciate the concept of the team working together to get to the finish line, preferably with as many guys as possible!

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