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RegularGuy 11-23-03 03:40 PM

Why Lance has to win the TdF in 2004
Okay...So I'm reading Every Second Counts and it occurs to me that Lance Armstrong has to win the 2004 Tour de France. He has to.

I'm a fan, I'll admit. But I don't believe that Lance is either a god or Superman. He looked especially vulnerable in the 2003 TdF. The hounds will be snapping at his heels next year, but Lance has to win.

Lance Armstrong is probably the most focused and dedicated competitor in professional cycling. His career is based on le Tour. He is criticized for being a one race rider and there is something to that. Despite the criticism, Lance owns the Tour de France.

As remarkable as Lance's acheivements in the TdF have been, he still has something to prove. To date, he has done nothing that hasn't been done before. He is not the first American to win the Tour. He is not the first American to have won multiple tours. He is not the first rider to come back from the brink of death to win the Tour. Greg Lemond did all of these things first.

This year, Lance joined an elite group of champions who have won five Tours de France, but he is not the first to have done so. He won five consecutive Tours, but Indurain already held that record. There is nothing that Lance has done that hasn't been done before.

Lance Armstrong had to win the 1999 Tour de France after coming back from cancer, just to prove that he could. He had to win the 2000 Tour de France when Pantani and Ullrich re-entered the competition, just to prove that '99 wasn't a fluke. He had to win in '01, '02 and '03 to show that he could be a five-timer. He especially had to win in '03 because it was harder than ever.

Now, he has to win in 2004. He still has something to prove.

Rumors have been flying around linking him romantically to Sandra Bullock and Sheryl Crow. Has Lance gone Hollywood? Personally, I doubt it. I don't think Lance has the time or the inclination to let his head be turned. Not now. Not yet. Maybe next August.

Lance still has to win the Tour de France in 2004. The only question is...can he?

Jonny B 11-23-03 05:12 PM

True, but he is the only person to do all those things. He is the only American to have come back from the brink of death to win five consecutive Tours. That alone makes him different. But I agree, he has to win in 2004, not to prove he can win 6, not for the money, not for the glory, but simply because he is nothing (to himself) without his yellow jersey.

If you read Graeme Obree's book you'll know what I mean. His attitude was 'I'd rather be dead than not break this hour record', and I feel Lance is exactly the same. If he's not winning the Tour, or preparing himself for another victory, he might as well not be alive.

NB: Just my personal opinion, not based on fact.

danr 11-23-03 09:21 PM

I see a commentating job on OLN in his near future.

sm266 11-23-03 10:04 PM

I see Lance winning next year, retiring in Austin, and raising his kids. If I were him, I'd screw working and just ride everyday. A little mtbiking here a little road cycling there. Here a fork there a fork everywhere a fork, fork.

hotch 11-23-03 10:16 PM

I expect when he retires from professional riding a sources of income will continue to be great. Apparently he owns the patent to the helmit he wears in the time trials, and I would expect a lifetime career with Trek and the Carmicheal training institute.

don d. 11-24-03 02:27 AM

nothing to prove
Lance doesn't have any thing to prove to me. He already seems somewhat heroic in his accomplishments. He's won every kind of race more than once and the only real criticism of him as a rider is that he doesn't have a pro level sprint.

If he wins a 6th TDF, it will mark him as one of the greatest all-around tour riders in the sports history. He will be given accolades at every subsequent TdF and will kinda be like Merckx, Hinault and Gimond -an everpresent Icon to the history of the sport.

If he loses the 6th, he may finally find his fans in France whom Americans love to hate, but France loves the pathos of failure.

Either way, he comes out a winner to me.

Pat 11-24-03 03:09 AM

Why does Lance have to win a 6th Tour de France? It isn't as if the previous 6 time winners like Meryx and Indurain and others were slouches or anything. These people are cycling gods. It isn't bad sharing a spot in a pantheon.

Shoot, winning ONE tour is pretty amazing. To even win a stage, you have to be a tremendous cyclist. There isn't anyone participating in the tour who isn't a superb cyclist.

Maybe Lance's body will hold up another year and maybe it won't. Maybe some guy will come along and take it instead. It doesn't matter. Lance's place in the history of the Tour de France is already secure.

Phatman 11-24-03 04:31 PM

no one has won it 6 times before

Random 11-25-03 12:00 PM

Good post. I have to agree, this is as important to him as the 99, and 00 wins.

Don Cook 11-25-03 04:29 PM

Like most people, I consider Lance Armstrong to be a role model in numerous ways. The Postal team and Armstrong's performance has been amazing in LeTour. But, after doing some reading last summer on the performance of some of the previous greats, Lance could win two or three more tours, but he still wouldn't be recognized as the greatest: Unless his individual performance stood out separately and above that of the US Postal team's. Meryx, would typically win eight or more stages each time he did the tour (in one tour he won 14 stages). Meryx dominated in virtually every category. Last summer Lance won 1 stage (and was lucky to do it). It's my opinion that Armstrong depends to a much greater degree on his team than did some of the previous greats. Most notably, Meryx.

keithnordstrom 11-29-03 02:14 PM

hmm i also think that competitive cycling has become much more refined in recent years tho. and everybody has begun to concentrate on one race, i think it's what you need to do to rise above the competitino. when mercks was riding, there were only a few people with the training to hang with him. now everybody's training - and, i suspect, a great many are doping. levels the field a bit.

i think lance will remain an icon like the others, whether he wins next year or not. and pundits will speculate back and forth about whether he is of the same calibre as merckx, anquetil, hinault, indurain ... but it will all be meaningless. the only way to compare these guys is to somehow take em all out of time and race them against each other.

that said, i really hope he does win next year.

lotek 12-01-03 10:57 AM


Originally Posted by Jonny B
. . . But I agree, he has to win in 2004, not to prove he can win 6, not for the money, not for the glory, but simply because he is nothing (to himself) without his yellow jersey.

. . . If he's not winning the Tour, or preparing himself for another victory, he might as well not be alive.

After the cycling Lance will still be a cancer survivor, read the books and
what he says on his LAF website. I think (personal opinion here) that his
cancer survivorship will be his personal legacy, and his reason to be alive.


Grampy™ 12-01-03 09:42 PM


Originally Posted by Phatman
no one has won it 6 times before

Ya know what? No one has won it 7 times either. :D

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