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Old 07-21-03, 04:20 AM
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roadbuzz
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Originally posted by Merriwether
There's not a huge amount of drafting possible at climbing speeds (hence Jan leading all the way up the climb and still finishing with Lance, for example, or Lance doing the same in years past).

On a related topic, on OLN, there's just _way_ too much talking all the time about the great "advantage" Lance has with his team in the mountains. More wasted breath from the announcers. Yes, Postal led Lance up the mountain Saturday, but they also led Ullrich. Some "advantage". The team might be useful in case someone attacks, then they could lead Lance back. But, by the time Ullrich did attack, all the teammates were gone. Today, Vinokourov attacked when there were no teammates in any shape to help, too.

Of course, if it had been Lance instead of Ullrich climbing without teammates but still winning time, there'd be no end of talk about what a great champion Lance is because he can, wait for it, "go it alone".
I've selected a couple of statements to debate...

Drafting? I dunno, have you watched the video feed? These guys don't climb at the same speeds you and I do. On all but the steepest pitches, they appear to be going plenty fast to benefit from a draft, even assuming no headwind. Notice where Lance rides when someone is pacing him.

There's another benefit, by having a team, USPS gets to set the pace. And that's what they did, no? Vino did not drive the pace for miles, peeling all but the strongest. Did he ever take a turn at the front? (I didn't see it.) I'm guessing not. Then he launched. That was probably the first time he had his face in the wind all day. Maybe the pace wasn't quite fast enough... you can only do what you can do. Still, it was their choice to make. Also, having a team member pace you lends a significant psychological advantage, IMO.

Finally, did you catch the shot on OLN where Jan soldiered back to the team car to get his own water bottles, Saturday? Given his descending skills, if the others had been pushing the pace, it could have put him in a world of hurt.

Lessee. Prior to last year, when they hit the mountains, Lance was pretty much there alone. And all of a sudden, after a couple of mtn stages Bobby Julich and (who?) announce they're leaving USPS. Then the next year, same thing, Kevin Livingston and Tyler Hamilton are looking for new teams after a couple of mtn stages. And there was no end of talk about Lance going it alone.
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