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AC needs a team?

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Jun 16, 2009
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Prodigy said:
Still no takers to tell me how AC would have lost last year without Astana? (excluding obvious things like the TTT and water bottles)

It's called causing splits in the field and they would of all worked against him. A team like Saxo could send F schleck up the road and then AC would of been forced to chase.

On topic, AC's team is not in the top 3 of GT teams. But his team will do an adequate job to keep him in it and will do enough I feel. Everyone can gang up on AC but others have to race too and want to win as well so they would have to chase any dangerous attacks as well which could possibly bring AC back into it.
 
Jun 22, 2009
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mitchman said:
Or Not.....The guy’s a one man machine….I almost think He’s so good that any teams going to have a hard time beating him. Even with a stacked lineup…..Like Saxo Bank or Shack

I agree, I think he could ride at a weak team and still win the tour.
 
Squares said:
Last year when the echelons formed, he couldn't get across by himself. This year it will be even more interesting if a split occurs on the cobbles with most of the Shack in front and AC by himself behind. Surely, he is strong enough not to lose a couple of minutes there and will pull it back all by himself (remember we are talking about AC doing it without a team).

That is where he will lose it this year without a good team.

LOL. Why was he trying to get back on his own?
Cos half his "strong" team went up the road, to help pull the break.
The rest just sat on and did squat.
With a "strong" teams like that, a weaker team is a step in the right direction.

Riding the cobbles is as much, if not more, about positioning, than teams.

Some people are talking as if this Astana squad are a bunch of clubbies.
 
Mar 18, 2009
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Love the way these short stretches of cobbles are being blown out of all proportion - I repeat, Contador is not Mayo and his team are not a bunch of hacks (look at the way they delivered the win at the Algarve). It might be instructive for those who think a strong team is all to look back beyond the Armstrong years to acquaint themselves with other ways that races can be ridden and won.
 
Feb 14, 2010
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auscyclefan94 said:
It's called causing splits in the field and they would of all worked against him. A team like Saxo could send F schleck up the road and then AC would of been forced to chase.

On topic, AC's team is not in the top 3 of GT teams. But his team will do an adequate job to keep him in it and will do enough I feel. Everyone can gang up on AC but others have to race too and want to win as well so they would have to chase any dangerous attacks as well which could possibly bring AC back into it.

I agree. Without the Team Time Trial that caused some time differences last year, the GC classification should be more competitive early. And I think that increasing the field to 22 teams adds all kind of variables. You'll have teams wanting to justify their invitations, and a lot of guys will want their sponsors to get TV time in the breaks. You'll have more guys fighting for KOM points. I think there's going to be a lot going on, and that a team going into a stage hoping for strategic gains should have a back-up plan in case someone else moves first.
 
Prodigy said:
There's no doubt it really effects some riders not to have team mates around them on the climbs. Evans for instance. But Contador is not one of those. Mentally is he as hard as they come. Who helped him on the mountains last year? All he has to do is TT well and he should be home and dry, team or no team.

Keep in mind that having teammates around him in the mountains is more than just blocking the wind. Fetching water bottles and fuel for the team's leader is just as important. It allows the leader to focus on his primary opponents and not worry about if his team car is close enough for him to venture back for hydration and fuel without fear of missing an important attack off the front by one of his opponents.

Contador's isolation in last year's Paris-Nice is the most often referenced example. The attacks were coming so frequently that he had little time to fuel, thus the bonk and the resulting loss of the race to Luis Leon Sanchez.
His attention was focused on trying to respond to Sanchez's aggression.
 
Squares said:
Last year when the echelons formed, he couldn't get across by himself. This year it will be even more interesting if a split occurs on the cobbles with most of the Shack in front and AC by himself behind. Surely, he is strong enough not to lose a couple of minutes there and will pull it back all by himself (remember we are talking about AC doing it without a team).

That is where he will lose it this year without a good team.

Luckily, this year he won't have 3 teammates on the front of the break trying to put time into him. In the instance of echelons in this year's Tour it is almost a certainty that Contador won't be left alone.
 
Race Radio said:
As much as Periero's Tour "Win" is a fluke he still has finished top 10 in the Tour 4 times and 11th in the Giro

Assan Bazayev is underrated. The guy is a bull and had a great classic season last year.

Vino, Jesus, David de la Fuente, Benjamín Noval, Daniel Navarro, Maxim Iglinsky, Enrico Gasparotto. IF there are no internal issues that is a seriously strong team

Don't forget Tiralongo. He's a pretty good climber too.
 
Feb 14, 2010
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Angliru said:
Keep in mind that having teammates around him in the mountains is more than just blocking the wind. Fetching water bottles and fuel for the team's leader is just as important. It allows the leader to focus on his primary opponents and not worry about if his team car is close enough for him to venture back for hydration and fuel without fear of missing an important attack off the front by one of his opponents.

Contador did an interview Saturday night after training on the TT bike. He said that his teammates were in effect arguing over who got to pull next at the front or go fetch water bottles. They were that motivated.

http://jornalciclismo.com/alberto-contador-o-campeao-avesso-a-polemica

It was nice the other day seeing David de la Fuente lead Alberto out at the start of a climb. It meant Contador could conserve a bit of his own energy until de la Fuente was spent. Imagine what it would be like if he could start with three guys helping him at the start of the climb, each giving their all at the front then peeling off until Alberto was left to finish on his own.

I couldn't get a perma link to it, but the Astana Fans website had a schedule of races with a few riders listed as participants. Pereiro is down for Paris-Nice and Pais-Vasco with Contador, and was the only one listed for the Tour de Suisse.
 
Angliru said:
Barry Sanders would beg to differ.:D

I know you're kidding but we both know Barry would have had thousands more yards with a good line. All those years with the Lions he'd get tackled for no gain or a loss 6 carries in a row then suddenly break a big one with his crazy moves. I can't imagine how fun it would have been to watch him run behind some great blockers.
 
theswordsman said:
Contador did an interview Saturday night after training on the TT bike. He said that his teammates were in effect arguing over who got to pull next at the front or go fetch water bottles. They were that motivated.

http://jornalciclismo.com/alberto-contador-o-campeao-avesso-a-polemica

It was nice the other day seeing David de la Fuente lead Alberto out at the start of a climb. It meant Contador could conserve a bit of his own energy until de la Fuente was spent. Imagine what it would be like if he could start with three guys helping him at the start of the climb, each giving their all at the front then peeling off until Alberto was left to finish on his own.

I couldn't get a perma link to it, but the Astana Fans website had a schedule of races with a few riders listed as participants. Pereiro is down for Paris-Nice and Pais-Vasco with Contador, and was the only one listed for the Tour de Suisse.

Yeah this is something I love about Pro Cycling - so many extremely professional and dedicated Domestiques. Heck 90% of the peloton consists of very tough Domestiques. All these guys know there are tons of dudes who want their job and they are happy to pull the peloton for miles on end with no chance of a personal high placing because that's the job and they love doing it!
 
Feb 14, 2010
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BikeCentric said:
Yeah this is something I love about Pro Cycling - so many extremely professional and dedicated Domestiques. Heck 90% of the peloton consists of very tough Domestiques. All these guys know there are tons of dudes who want their job and they are happy to pull the peloton for miles on end with no chance of a personal high placing because that's the job and they love doing it!

And it's not just on the road, either. You've got the time on the bus, in hotels at meals, where they help pass the time and enjoy the routine. Plus, some of the guys will go with Alberto to train on cobbles, and do recon rides of key Tour stages. At the Volta, Alberto and Jesus arrived a day early and went to check out the TT course. Jesus is also a regular training partner of Contador's - I think they drive something like sixty kilometers to get to a place with decent climbs. There was a good ride along story in Cycle Sport about it. I'm unemployed and really poor, so I read it on Zinio (delete cookies after your three page zooms are up), with the hope I'll have the cash some day to make it good. Here's the issue. "Viva Astana" starts on page 104.

http://www.zinio.com/browse/issues/index.jsp?skuId=416105293
 
Nov 17, 2009
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Angliru said:
Luckily, this year he won't have 3 teammates on the front of the break trying to put time into him. In the instance of echelons in this year's Tour it is almost a certainty that Contador won't be left alone.

While the following statement is neither here nor there... I do want to point out that IF Astana was a team without "issues" last year at the tour... and if they had a unified view that Contador was their primary guy for the win while Lance was their second option (neither of which I am claiming is an accurate statement).... then pulling at the front would have been the correct call.

The group at the front didn't contain a legit threat aside from Armstrong. (unless Linus Gerdemann, Kim Kirchen or Michael Rogers are considered threats). From a "team" perspective, at that point in the race it made sense to try to get their 2nd GC guy seconds on guys like Schleck, Evans and Sastre.

That isn't why it happened... but on a "team first" type team I think the same result would have been reached.


What would be interesting is if a similar thing happens and Lance is left out while Popo, Kloden and Zubeldia are up the road... will Zubeldia and Popo pull for Kloden this upcoming tour.
 
theswordsman said:
Pereiro is down for Paris-Nice and Pais-Vasco with Contador, and was the only one listed for the Tour de Suisse.

Could that mean Pereiro is meant to be leader in Switzerland? Would be nice if astana believed in him enough to give him an opportunity like that.
 
Nov 17, 2009
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BikeCentric said:
I know you're kidding but we both know Barry would have had thousands more yards with a good line. All those years with the Lions he'd get tackled for no gain or a loss 6 carries in a row then suddenly break a big one with his crazy moves. I can't imagine how fun it would have been to watch him run behind some great blockers.

Some of Barry's runs for no gain were incredible. Any mortal running back would have been tackled for a 5 yard loss... and he'd spin, shake and squirm back to the line of scrimmage.
 
Jul 25, 2009
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kurtinsc said:
...IF Astana was a team without "issues" last year at the tour... The group at the front didn't contain a legit threat aside from Armstrong...That isn't why it happened... but on a "team first" type team I think the same result would have been reached.

Continuing with the hypothetical team without issues scenario...would the number 2 rider have been expected to share the Hincapie tip off with the number one rider? Or was there no point... because if the team leader was in the split, then all the other teams would work and the split wouldn't survive?
 
Nov 17, 2009
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I Watch Cycling In July said:
Continuing with the hypothetical team without issues scenario...would the number 2 rider have been expected to share the Hincapie tip off with the number one rider? Or was there no point... because if the team leader was in the split, then all the other teams would work and the split wouldn't survive?

Hard to say. If a "tipoff" occurred as in "Hey Lance, get to the front right now because we're making a move", then maybe radioing back to the car is the correct thing to do. If Lance saw George ride by and George winked and Lance and gestured with his head... maybe not.

Again, I'm not trying to say what happened was in any way about the team. Obviously there was too much dysfunction there for that kind of thought to be what drove their decision.

But... if you have your #2 in a group like in that scenario with no other GC threats... then using your domestiques who are there to push the pace seems like a reasonable idea. How it occured wasn't really my point... just that contributing riders to pull at the front didn't seem all that odd to me at the time... it seemed like good strategy.
 
Jul 25, 2009
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Working on the front once the split has occurred makes perfect sense to me too.

My question is whether a cooperative/functional team would want to get the top guy into the split too? [If there was a tip off that would allow for it.] Initially, I assumed the answer was YES....because #2 is enough of a threat that the teams of GC hopefuls will be chasing the break anyway, so having #1 in it wouldn't decrease the chance of the break surviving. But perhaps the answer is NO because if #1 suddenly moves up all the other GC contenders will know something is on and will end up in the lead group too.

Just trying to double check my understanding of the race situation here, without having to wade into all the emotive ******** that surrounded that team...cause I'm quite new to watching cycling in july...
 
Feb 14, 2010
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zapata said:
Could that mean Pereiro is meant to be leader in Switzerland? Would be nice if astana believed in him enough to give him an opportunity like that.
I hope that's what it meant. He's down for the two races with Contador, but also Criterium International and La Fleche Wallone. He said early on that he wants to help Contador win the Tour, but also be one of the pillars of the team. It would be nice to see him back in form and going for results.

I just saw on twitter that Gurov has been moved from the Tirrenno-Adriatico squad to Paris-Nice because he impressed Martinelli in the Volta. I think a lot of guys will work hard to try to make the Tour team.
 
Hope so to. Pereiro is a solid rider, too bad if he's only remembered as the guy who got in a lucky break. I'm glad he's even got a job; looked earlier like he might be forced to retire from lack of offers. That would've been a horrible shame.
 
Jul 29, 2009
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initially I thought that a weak team could prove a problem for AC despite clearly being the best GT rider. Indeed I was kind of hoping that would be the case as it might make things more interesting.

I also felt that as the number of potential challengers seems higher than many years it could make it interesting if they ganged up on AC however I ow think that plays into AC's hands.

AC may not have the strongest team but they will (or at least 7 of them will) be totally committed and with something of a point to prove. They also have only one goal.

RS, Saxo and Liquigas all have more than one contender so could pose a threat by coordinating mutiple attacks. However if RS just try and get LA as high as possible that will obviously help AC, Andy also needs to be selfish and just use his brother which I can't see happening and I can't see Liquigas being aggressive enough or coordinating any attacks if they try either.

That leaves us with the other teams with one leader Cervelo, BMC, Sky and Garmin. I think they will be more concerned with getting their man on the podium than risking all to win.

Therefore I see Astana working tirelessly for AC (a couple of suicide Vino breaks aside) who wins comfortably while everyone else fights each other for the podium, happy to let AC win again as long as they get to stand next to him in Paris. Rather than risking it by organising multiple attacks/splits till Astana cracks and then trying to do the same to AC.

I'm not saying it would work but it would make it very interesting to watch.

In summary Astana will be strong enough because i don't think they're really going to get tested.