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Old 06-28-10, 11:12 PM   #1
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Strongest TdF Team

LiquiGas, The Shack, Saxo Bank ?

I think The Shack has the best pedigree (including JB) but does that make them the strongest team? Maybe yes, maybe some other Team.
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Old 06-29-10, 04:01 AM   #2
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Saxo Bank
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Old 06-29-10, 04:10 AM   #3
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Arguably it's HTC Columbia, at least in regards to what their goals are, not necessarily in regards to the general classement.
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Old 06-29-10, 06:41 AM   #4
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Saxo Bank
Not sure about that as things stand now. What is Riis' motivation to guide A. Schleck to victory, knowing that he's leaving after the Tour to start his own team with his brother? Riis has to feel betrayed, especially as the news has come out while he is actively seeking new sponsorship. I'll bet he's pissed.

Strongest team? Radioshack. That doesn't assure victory, though. Contador has shown he can win without team support, now he has team support, do the math. Astana may not be as strong as RS, but they (supposedly) are totally committed to Contador. With the exception of the unpredictable Vino, these guys will kill themselves to protect AC to the foot of the climbs, and stick with him as long as possible afterwards.

As for sprints, look to me like HTC-Columbia have a stranglehold on the green jersey and sprint wins this year. Cervelo TT has lost Haussler, so Hushovd is on his own. Ciolek will be looking for good results, what with Milram folding after this year. RS left Steegmans off their team, to more fully support Armstrong. Boonen is out. Sounds like Mr. Personality has little competition for the green jersey.

And Basso...didn't he say that he would support either Kreuziger or Nibali in the Tour, if the team supported him in the Giro? Now, he says he wants to win the Tour, and support the others "in a couple of years". If I was Kreuziger, I'd tell him to go **** in his hat.
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Old 06-29-10, 06:44 AM   #5
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Saxo is very strong and has hardmen to get them through that first week of wind and cobbles. The Schlecks are great duo in the mountains. So Saxo is a strong team TRS is very strong but Zubeldia not being there could hurt in the high mountains but they probably still tip the scales as the strongest team. LiquiGas is strong too with Basso's form and Kruziger is very good but not sure they have the strategy to pull it off.
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Old 06-29-10, 07:28 AM   #6
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I think the question "who is the strongest TdF team?" could be open to debate as to what "strongest" means as far as a goal for the team in the race (or races within the race) which is what rogwilco points to.

As far as winning goes, the strongest team sometimes (maybe usually) wins but not always. Riis may or maynot be upset with the Schlecks, but that doesn't mean the Saxo Bank has weaker riders all of a sudden. Management, Strategy, mother nature, luck, injuries will all play a part in the final outcome. I think Saxo Bank has the strongest team, I don't believe a Saxo Bank rider will win the GC.
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Old 06-29-10, 07:29 AM   #7
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Depends on how you're defining "strongest". The strongest teams have been mentioned, but picking "the strongest"...
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Old 06-29-10, 09:52 AM   #8
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Judging the teams on paper versus GC is very different. The podium is a total crapshoot (although AC will be on it somewhere) at this point until after Stage 3. Simple as that. Those cobbles could be huge! Or they could be like Ventoux last year - don't amount to a hill of beans.
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Old 07-02-10, 08:26 AM   #9
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If you rephrase the question to "Which GC leader has the strongest team support? I think the answer is likely Radio Shack, although there's a case for Saxo Bank.

But if you phrase the question which team is the strongest GC contender, then its Astana because they have Cantador, with Saxo Bank next.
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Old 07-02-10, 08:29 AM   #10
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Judging the teams on paper versus GC is very different. The podium is a total crapshoot (although AC will be on it somewhere) at this point until after Stage 3. Simple as that. Those cobbles could be huge! Or they could be like Ventoux last year - don't amount to a hill of beans.
Cobbles are only going to be huge if Contador, or another leader crashes out. Contador could lose a small amount of time, but in all likelyhood it will be along the lines of the time lost in the " echelon" stage last year, not the multiple minutes that will be gained or lost in the mountains.
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Old 07-02-10, 09:01 AM   #11
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We shall see!-

Iban Mayo TdF 2004 - top notch climber and it was all for naught because he lost too much time in a crash on a very similar stage so his climbing abilities couldn't make up the difference (yes, he is not Contador but still). Contador doesn't have to crash out - if he misses a break in the peloton (as he did on a far less tough stage last year), crashes or has a mechanical and has a poor bike exchange or gets caught behind a massive pile up the gap could hurt. So think IF (and its a big one) he loses time on this stage it will be much more than the echelon of last year. Or he finishes in the lead group and loses no time and Prudhomme's choice of this stage doesn't do anything for selection and we wait until the mountains were AC probably obliterates the field.

The difference on this stage to that in 2004 is the cobbles are closer to the finish of the stage so there is less time/distance to make up for any problems during the race (i.e. catching the lead group, etc).
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Old 07-02-10, 09:43 AM   #12
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Iban Mayo could not hold Contador's chamois. Mayo's crash was an excuse. Mayo was greatly overhyped as a Tour de France contender. He had poor finishes and abandonded the TDF in other years with no crashes. At best he was a great climber (with EPO) not a grand tour winner.

And in 2004, while he lost time due to a crash, he lost more time in the Pyranees due to poor form, and alledgedly Mono.

Contador by contrast, can climb, and TT, and is a 4 time grand tour winner. Simply not comparable.
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Old 07-02-10, 10:10 AM   #13
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What can happen in the stages are comparable. I was not comparing Mayo to Contador but the tactics and risks inherent on Stage 3 this year and how it could open up gaps.

Contador wouldn't want Mayo to touch anything of his.
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Old 07-02-10, 02:43 PM   #14
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Cobbles are only going to be huge if Contador, or another leader crashes out. Contador could lose a small amount of time, but in all likelyhood it will be along the lines of the time lost in the " echelon" stage last year, not the multiple minutes that will be gained or lost in the mountains.
If I recall correctly the cobbles are in 4 sections all in the last 20 miles. Very clever of the Tour designers. That increases the chance that there will be some time gaps, but also keeps the expected size of those gaps reasonable. Smart, smart, smart. One more must watch stage, it could have a significant influence, but it is highly unlikely to giove the kind of gap that makes later stages less important.
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Old 07-02-10, 03:46 PM   #15
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Arguably it's HTC Columbia, at least in regards to what their goals are, not necessarily in regards to the general classement.
That's a good point.

I also agree that if you're asking which GC guy has the best support, RadioShack should be the answer. They're loaded with experienced guys who can climb. They could afford to lose a key guy to injury/sickness/whatever and not be completely screwed. Another thing about RadioShack is that you know they'll be behind Lance 100%, for better or worse.

Saxo Bank is probably second.
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Old 07-03-10, 04:03 AM   #16
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Not sure about that as things stand now. What is Riis' motivation to guide A. Schleck to victory, knowing that he's leaving after the Tour to start his own team with his brother? Riis has to feel betrayed, especially as the news has come out while he is actively seeking new sponsorship. I'll bet he's pissed.

Strongest team? Radioshack. That doesn't assure victory, though. Contador has shown he can win without team support, now he has team support, do the math. Astana may not be as strong as RS, but they (supposedly) are totally committed to Contador. With the exception of the unpredictable Vino, these guys will kill themselves to protect AC to the foot of the climbs, and stick with him as long as possible afterwards.

As for sprints, look to me like HTC-Columbia have a stranglehold on the green jersey and sprint wins this year. Cervelo TT has lost Haussler, so Hushovd is on his own. Ciolek will be looking for good results, what with Milram folding after this year. RS left Steegmans off their team, to more fully support Armstrong. Boonen is out. Sounds like Mr. Personality has little competition for the green jersey.

And Basso...didn't he say that he would support either Kreuziger or Nibali in the Tour, if the team supported him in the Giro? Now, he says he wants to win the Tour, and support the others "in a couple of years". If I was Kreuziger, I'd tell him to go **** in his hat.
His motivation is that the guts of his team are leaving and he has no sponsor lined up for next season. So a win would go a long way towards helping him stay in cycling with his team.
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Old 07-03-10, 04:08 AM   #17
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We shall see!-

Iban Mayo TdF 2004 - top notch climber and it was all for naught because he lost too much time in a crash on a very similar stage so his climbing abilities couldn't make up the difference (yes, he is not Contador but still). Contador doesn't have to crash out - if he misses a break in the peloton (as he did on a far less tough stage last year), crashes or has a mechanical and has a poor bike exchange or gets caught behind a massive pile up the gap could hurt. So think IF (and its a big one) he loses time on this stage it will be much more than the echelon of last year. Or he finishes in the lead group and loses no time and Prudhomme's choice of this stage doesn't do anything for selection and we wait until the mountains were AC probably obliterates the field.

The difference on this stage to that in 2004 is the cobbles are closer to the finish of the stage so there is less time/distance to make up for any problems during the race (i.e. catching the lead group, etc).
See Merlin's post.

I recall Lance, in an interview that year being asked if Mayo could win the Tour. His answer? "When?".
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Old 07-13-10, 09:40 AM   #18
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On a scale of 1-10, how overrated was RadioShack?

So far Saxo Bank & Astana have been the best. Imagine if Frank Schleck hadn't crashed out.
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Old 07-13-10, 09:57 AM   #19
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On a scale of 1-10, how overrated was RadioShack?

So far Saxo Bank & Astana have been the best. Imagine if Frank Schleck hadn't crashed out.
It seems to me every team lance was on since about 2001 has been overrated. I am NOT saying that many of those teams were not good, some were very very good, but the fanboys kept thinking they were the best ever. Just as the fanboys were saying Lance was the best ever starting in about 2001. For best team ever and best rider ever their results were very disappointing.

What they were is the most focused TDF team ever. I don't think that totally applied to this years Radioshack team, but it sure is their roots. And now their focus is gone. It will be interesting to see what happens with them.
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