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Posties going to the Tour

Old 06-23-04, 05:58 AM
  #1  
roadwarrior
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Posties going to the Tour

Hincapie, Eki, Landis, Padrnos, Azevedo, Beltran, Rubiera, and Noval.

The team got stronger, such that Victor Hugo Pena, who was in yellow last year, is an alternate this year.

Looks like a very strong bunch.
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Old 06-23-04, 07:39 AM
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Originally Posted by roadwarrior
Hincapie, Eki, Landis, Padrnos, Azevedo, Beltran, Rubiera, and Noval.

The team got stronger, such that Victor Hugo Pena, who was in yellow last year, is an alternate this year.

Looks like a very strong bunch.
I'm looking forward to seeing Floyd Landis in the mountains this year. Postal has gone with more climbers this year, and who could blame them? Ten days to go!
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Old 06-23-04, 08:18 AM
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Eki is the real Postal god.
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Old 06-23-04, 08:56 AM
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I anxious to see how they do in the time trial this year with all these climbers. Granted worst case senario they can only lose 2 minutes this year, but this is where Victor Hugo Pena has earned his money in years past.
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Old 06-23-04, 09:22 AM
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Pena did earn his money in the TT's; time trialing was his strength. His replacement, Noval, is also a good time trialer, although not as experienced, and he has never ridden a TDF. I haven't seen any reasons for Pena's exclusion, and Noval's selection was explained as "he's the most fit". He was not called a stronger rider and his palmares would not suggest that. Perhaps Pena was just not ready to go this year. Who knows. But I wouldn't consider Noval's addition an improvement. If anything, his lack of TDF experience is a negative.

The loss of Heras is the most detrimental to the team on paper as he is a definite step above his replacement, Azevedo. Azevedo is a good climber, but he is no Heras. I think the loss of Heras weakens the team significantly.

USPS may be one of the three strongest Time Trialing teams in the Tour. Unless they have another crash ala' 2001', they should either win the TTT or place on the podium. No worries there.

In the mountains, they are strong, but not as strong as they would be with riders they have had in the past like Hamilton and Heras.

I can't see how this team is stronger. If anything they look slightly weaker to me with the loss of Heras.

Last edited by don d.; 06-23-04 at 10:13 AM.
 
Old 06-23-04, 09:33 AM
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I think we can at least agree that Postal is not the strongest team at the tour. Cn't we?
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Old 06-23-04, 09:37 AM
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Isn't Azevedo a good TT'er? Maybe that makes up for Pena a bit.
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Old 06-23-04, 09:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Laggard
I think we can at least agree that Postal is not the strongest team at the tour. Cn't we?
Hows that? Postal will focus on Lance in yellow rather than the team win so the only real way to tell will be the TTT results.

I can't wait to see it and the Mountain ITT to see how Lance measures up against pure climbers on a mano a mano TT up a hill.

I seriously doubt Ullrich will do well on a mountain TT compared to Lance unless he drops several kilos.
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Old 06-23-04, 09:51 AM
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Originally Posted by SamDaBikinMan
I can't wait to see it and the Mountain ITT to see how Lance measures up against pure climbers on a mano a mano TT up a hill.
Maybe Lance do as well as he did against Mayo on the recent Ventoux ITT?
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Old 06-23-04, 09:57 AM
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Heras was like... the number 3 domestique last year. Not that big of a loss. Beltran and Rubiera were always of more use in the mountains in 2003, and Heras can't provide much for the TTT. He was decent, but Acevado will probably be of more use.
Who IS the strongest team for the tour this year?

Originally Posted by Laggard
Eki is the real Postal god.
Now you are just losing your mind
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Old 06-23-04, 10:04 AM
  #11  
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Originally Posted by Laggard
Maybe Lance do as well as he did against Mayo on the recent Ventoux ITT?
Yep, of course it all depends on where the riders are in their conditioning. Did Lance peak at the Mt Ventoux? Doubtful as he is timing it for the tour. Lance had no real reason to win that TT anyway since he uses it as a training ride. I'd suspect he was where he expected to be and will have improved greatly by L'Alp.

So, indeed, we will see how Mayo stacks up against a peaking LA if he gets the timing right.

It will be fun to watch an any event.
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Old 06-23-04, 11:38 AM
  #12  
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Originally Posted by Laggard
I think we can at least agree that Postal is not the strongest team at the tour. Cn't we?
Who do you think is stronger? Even though I think USPS has brought stronger teams to the TDF, I'm hard pressed to say they aren't the strongest team. They have unquestioned unity of purpose. And they have 5 solid riders, LA, Eki, Hincapie, Rubiera, and Beltran who can pretty much be counted on through thick and thin barring illness or injury. Azevedo and Noval are question marks but have strong potential based on their histories. Landis and Padernos are workhorses. Overall, They are at least as strong as T-Mobile and I think stronger than Phonak because of their experience.

As far as team leadership, Bruyneel is unquestionably the best, with maybe Godefroot, Riis, and Saiz not far behind. Phonak's DS Freuler still has something to prove in a Grand Tour. Breukink has something to prove also.

Euskaltel, Liberty, Fassa, Quick-Step, Saeco, and Rabobank(maybe)are all on the next tier. Who am I missing?

Last edited by don d.; 06-23-04 at 11:51 AM.
 
Old 06-23-04, 11:43 AM
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Originally Posted by brent_dube
Heras was like... the number 3 domestique last year. Not that big of a loss.
Heras contracted bronchitis last year. Lance pointed out after the TDF that one of the reasons his victory was so difficult was because Heras was sick. Up until last year, Heras was point man in the mountains for LA. He will be missed.
 
Old 06-23-04, 11:44 AM
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Originally Posted by don d.
Who do you think is stronger?
I think Laggard is stating, without naming names, that T-Mobile is the best team this year. My contention is that may, or may not be true. The best team is not necessarily the 9 best individual racers, which I think T-Mobile has in its ranks. The best team is the one that works best collectively for its team leader. With a sprinter, and sprinter's helper, and some riders that may have their own best interest in mind; collectively, T-Mobile may not be as good as they are individually.

The truth is that none of us will know until le Tour is over. However, my vote still goes to Postal for the best collective TEAM.
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Old 06-23-04, 12:00 PM
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Originally Posted by bac
I think Laggard is stating, without naming names, that T-Mobile is the best team this year. My contention is that may, or may not be true. The best team is not necessarily the 9 best individual racers, which I think T-Mobile has in its ranks. The best team is the one that works best collectively for its team leader. With a sprinter, and sprinter's helper, and some riders that may have their own best interest in mind; collectively, T-Mobile may not be as good as they are individually.

The truth is that none of us will know until le Tour is over. However, my vote still goes to Postal for the best collective TEAM.
When T-mobile lost Vino and chose not to bring Cadel Evans to the TDF, I think their status dropped significantly. Guerini and Kloden are good support in the mountains, but they're older, and I would take Rubiera and Beltran any day(JMHO ). Botero is a wild card. Aldag can climb some, but he is also older. Plus, they're bringing riders for multiple purposes, Green and Yellow, which divides them in purpose and weakens their chances for overall. Quite frankly, I don't even see them as bringing the 9 best individual racers.
 
Old 06-23-04, 12:08 PM
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Is my anti-Lance bias showing?

I think Postal is probably the strongest team geared collectively towards winning the TDF. As a team put together to win a major tour, it's awesome. As riders, my humble opinion is that there are teams with more individual talent. CSC and Rabobank come to mind.

But you know me, Don - my whole year is geared towards the spring and fall.

Last edited by Laggard; 06-23-04 at 12:16 PM.
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Old 06-23-04, 12:13 PM
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Rubiera has been a major workhorse for Lance in the Mtns. Heras has only been a big factor in one tour. I no longer think Heras will be missed by postal. Azevedo is a more well rounded rider.
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Old 06-23-04, 12:13 PM
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are we talking about team best suited to aid a GC victory or to win the team classification? They're two very different things.

Phonak and CSC both look very strong for the team classification, though I wonder if Voight and Jagske (spelling) didn't peak too early.

As for supporting a GC contender, I think we will see a tremendous battle between Postal and T-Mobile, losing Vino hurts as does Heras, but both will fill the gaps and get to work. Phonak seems to be the dark horse, less proven but performing well in these last few prep races.
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Old 06-23-04, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Laggard
But you know me, Don - my whole year is geared towards the spring and fall.
Hope you make it through this dry spell. It's gonna be Lance mania here for awhile.
 
Old 06-23-04, 12:52 PM
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As for the team with the best riders, since T-Mobile lost Vino and jettisoned Cadel, I may have to choose Quick-Step.

Quick-Step has Boonen for the sprints, a genuine green jersey contender, Rodgers and Mercado for GC, Virenque for the polka dot jersey, and Bettini for stage victories. That's an all star cast.
 
Old 06-23-04, 01:28 PM
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Didn't they change the polka dot jersey classification some? I thought that summit finishes were going to be more points or something like that. It made it sound like Virenque was going to have to do more than be in a breakaway on a rolling stage or two, rack up the points, then coast to Paris, like nearly every polka dot winner in recent memory has been. I haven't been following cycling for that long but it seems the KOM is hardly ever a climber by trade. I like Boonen's chances for green. I think McEwen is really hungry for green but it doesn't seem he has the form, unless he too is peaking for the tour but I didn't think sprinters needed to time is just right like GC guys do. Let's not discount Heras as a legitimate threat for the GC. Last year's Vuelta showed his TT'ing, while not great, has improved drastically. Postal won't be able to just let him ride up the road in ways they did Mayo last year at some points. After reading up on Levi and learning a little bit of his history I am excited to see what he can do. Don't know him well enough to make predicition but it seems yet another American name is popping up in reference to the Tour.
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Old 06-24-04, 11:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Laggard
Is my anti-Lance bias showing?
. . .
Laggard, c'mon tell us how you really feel

Does anyone think that Illes de Bearres (or however its spelled)
could once again be a threat in the TTT? strong team imho.

Marty
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