Armstrong riding to win Tour of France?

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OJ.... said:
He should beat Basso pretty easily based on the numbers Basso has posted on Mapei website. Lance averages closer to 500 W in his time trials and on the mountains (sometimes even more) and Basso was under 400 W in Tirreno.QUOTE]


Yeah but Lance is so burly right now--that's gonna kill him.

And remember, the only guy that beat Basso in the TT of his Giro win was Ulrich, and that wasn't by a ton. Basso can TT.
 
Mar 19, 2009
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When Lance announced his comeback, I immediately thought he' want to win the Giro, as middle finger to the world the can win more than just TdF's.
But, despite doping being less and less of a factor, competition is coming more and more professional and specialized. Giro is early, perhaps too early to make it a sole goal.
I could see if I were Lance, why I'd want to play down people's expectations for Giro, and still get a good position going into the TdF.

Lance should be able to progress quite a bit from TOC on, having started a bit less fit with his winter training. Being an ex-cyclist, doing some marathons and lots of Lance politics.

With 5 top contenders at Astana, they could every mountains day launch another combo of 2 riders to attack, together. This way getting the maximum number of them in position to win, and competition off the podium. With Leipheimer and Kloden riding an escape, Lance and Alberto will be cruising behind the others. If the persuit is successful, they jump when they feel up to it.
They can afford to launch Leipheimer (say, 1.5 minutes behind lead in GC) and then temper the chase behind him. So what if Leipheimer gets 2 minutes on everyone and a few non-GC climbers? Let him. More power to Astana. If opportunities on Mont Ventoux are disappointing, Levi gets it in stead of the others, Astana will be happy regardless.

Having a TTT in the race gives all 5 of them about a minute or more on the GC competition. If the competition doesn't pay attention, the 5 of them could work together to the point of making it an internal team race for the podium, on Mont Ventoux. Volunteers to be the best of the rest?

Sure, it won't be a black/white like that, but with such talented racers, and such a professional proven winner machine team behind them, it's going to take either really original strategies or foul play to keep all Astana's from the TdF win.
 
Mar 19, 2009
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Astana Stormin'

Hey everyone,

News Flash! Lance recently stated (on Twitter for one) that he probably will only race first two weeks to test his legs in prep for TdF. Having said that, if he's leading (or even top 3 at that stage), I honestly can't see him bailing. He's far too single-focused to drop out of a Grand Tour while having the ability to win it.

@ Bianchi Girl

Rabobank didn't put the hurt on Astana (Contador) in Paris-Nice, rather Caisse d'Espargne (and especially LL Sanchez). Where did any of Rabobank's riders end up in the end? What was their best-placed rider? Besides, Contador blew up in the 2d to last stage due to bonking (hunger flat). Read all the coverage right here on Cyclingnews!!

Anyone who's followed US Postal, Discovery, and Astana even for the past 10years (as long as Bruyneel has been DS) precisely knows how they approach a Grand Tour tactically. There is no other Pro Tour Team that can even come close to matching their tactical superiority.

Did anyone follow the Tour of California? Lance buried himself for Levi. Even Levi stated after winning the TOC that he looks forward to repaying the favor to Lance. Chechu re-signed (he already committed to retiring before LA announced his return), just to ride beside LA again in another Grand Tour.

I personally don't think that Andreas Klöden can win the TdF anymore, evidenced by his collapse on the 2d to last stage of Tirreno-Adriatico this past week (he lost 1:07 to a rider on the scale of Michele Scarponi (not exactly the cream of climbers) in a hill finish stage. He's better suited to a "super domestique" role as well.

That leaves us with AC. I personally think that Contador is right now the top climber in the Pro ranks. When he accelerates, NO ONE can go with him. However, as Lance said this past weekend "he still has much to learn". Talent alone won't win you the TdF with such a deep field that will show up this year to contest for GC (Sastre, Evans, Schleck brothers, Menchov, Basso, Gesink, etc.). He will need the help of ALL of this teammates.

I think you will see who the strongest rider is in the first week, and the entire team will devote itself to that rider (whether it is LA, AC, Levi or someone else) winning. Bruyneel won't make the same mistake that always befell T-Mobile or Team Telekom (3 Captains, each attacking the other).

That's my story, and I'm sticking to it!!

Cyclingnut
 
Mar 18, 2009
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Lance will win the TDF again. I never believed he came back for any other reason. Why would not he want to do this. It seems very logical to let Contador and the others grab some smaller races and focus on the big prize at the end. Contador will never race for Lance at the TDF he is as selfish as any other rider. Lance races for Lance just like Contador races for Contador. I think making Lance into a villian is stupid. He is not there to make buddies he is there to win the top race. Lance is mentally to strong for the likes of Contador.
 
Mar 19, 2009
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Of course he's going to ride to win.

He's fired the first shot in his psych war to undermine Contador already. Just like he always did with Ullrich.

Armstrong ride the Tour as a domestique? Not a chance.
 
Mar 19, 2009
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cyclingnut49 said:
I personally think that Contador is right now the top climber in the Pro ranks. When he accelerates, NO ONE can go with him.
Hmmm. His big gear, crank forcing style of that victory on Mont de Lure reminded me of nothing more than Emanuelle Sella's style in his "superhuman" Giro stage wins last year.
 
Mar 19, 2009
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@ Animal,

Name me one rider who's been able to accelerate and stay w/ Contador when he attacks? The last one was "Chicken" Rasmussen, and we all know what happened to him, right?

Will be interesting to see who can, and perhaps we'll all know more in the upcoming Vuelta a Castilla y León, from March 23 to 27. For the first time, Lance & Alberto are set to ride the same together.

Going in a different direction, I think that there is another guy lurking in the shadows (also a fellow Astana teammate) who may be even better than AC. Remember the name JESÚS HERNÁNDEZ, a rider who AC personnally recruited to the Astana team this year. In Astana's training camp on Tenerife in December, no one (not LA, not Levi, not a recovering AC) could stay with Hernandez on the toughest climb on the island. He smoked his teammates.

@ Mr. Tibbs,

Have you seen recent photos of Lance? You're calling him "burly"? I saw some recent photos of LA either here on Cyclingnews or on Eurosport without a shirt. For being 37, he looks buff, dude!! He self-admitted that he's about 7 lbs over his ideal weight, but he'll drop that in no time.

You'll see a fit hungry LA lining up at the starting line in May for the Giro. He'll let his legs do the talking, I think.
 
Mar 13, 2009
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shades of 86

Regardless of who is the strongest, hopefully it will be as dramatic as the 86 interteam showdown between Hinault and Lemond.
 
Mar 19, 2009
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bianchigirl said:
Those nerves haven't been apparent at the two major Euro stage races of the year, have they? It was quite clear, particularly in Paris-Nice (and what a superb race that was) that any air of superiority Astana might once have had is no longer intimidating - witness the way Rabobank took them to pieces with a brilliantly crafted attack.

The problem for Boss Hog is that those USDiscatana stalwarts aint getting any younger.
I dont think Lance will lose this TDF and he will MAKE SURE that he wins. The only one that can stop him is Basso. I dont think Contador will be allowed to win. Unless Lance cant get all the way back to his previous levels.

But Contador might get the Giro... But Basso will be super-motivated to win his home Tour and probably will do so with a flawless (injurt and sick free) Giro. If no Basso in the Tour de France then Lance will have a field day and destroy the field. COntador will then ride support.

I think Lance has ridden quite well so far and his proven once he is fully, tuned up; it will be him and IVan Basso. But Ivan might not ride the TOur de France and just do the Giro (and win.)
 
Mar 19, 2009
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Animal said:
Hmmm. His big gear, crank forcing style of that victory on Mont de Lure reminded me of nothing more than Emanuelle Sella's style in his "superhuman" Giro stage wins last year.
But Lance is not Fully tuned-up yet and once he is I think Contador wont be able to win. But Ivan Basso is also laying low.
 
Mar 19, 2009
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Lance as Super Domestique

Not that he's listening but the smartest move he could make is ride for Alberto in the TdF. He has nothing to prove and everything to loose as a team leader or co-leader for the TdF; if he helps AC win it will burn the french that much more. The reason he's won all his TdF's is his teams singular focus on one rider; mess with that formula and I bet the result will not be the same.

I actually don't believe he cares that much if the french hate him but if he tries to win and gets beaten, that's a whole different story and they'd never let him live it down. "Ah shucks" and taking one for the team will feel a lot better than "I don't know what happened, I never use to feel this tired after a stage."

I can't wait to see the Giro!
 
Mar 17, 2009
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darv123 said:
Lance will win the TDF again. I never believed he came back for any other reason. Why would not he want to do this. It seems very logical to let Contador and the others grab some smaller races and focus on the big prize at the end. Contador will never race for Lance at the TDF he is as selfish as any other rider. Lance races for Lance just like Contador races for Contador. I think making Lance into a villian is stupid. He is not there to make buddies he is there to win the top race. Lance is mentally to strong for the likes of Contador.
I guess cycling is about one man then, isn't a team effort what wins grand tours, granted there is a need of talent but at the end is about teamwork as corny as that may sound
 
cyclingnut49 said:
Hey everyone,

News Flash! Lance recently stated (on Twitter for one) that he probably will only race first two weeks to test his legs in prep for TdF. Having said that, if he's leading (or even top 3 at that stage), I honestly can't see him bailing. He's far too single-focused to drop out of a Grand Tour while having the ability to win it.

@ Bianchi Girl

Rabobank didn't put the hurt on Astana (Contador) in Paris-Nice, rather Caisse d'Espargne (and especially LL Sanchez). Where did any of Rabobank's riders end up in the end? What was their best-placed rider? Besides, Contador blew up in the 2d to last stage due to bonking (hunger flat). Read all the coverage right here on Cyclingnews!!

Cyclingnut
It is a pity, that you did actually watch, before you post more troll rubbish.
Rabobank blew the race apart on stage 3. All the Astana team, except Contador failed even to stay in the chasing peloton; no one; nada.
Chavanel (QS in case you don't know) took his leader's jersey, remember?
Same thing on stage 7, when Contador got taken apart.
Attacked by 5 GC men.
Not one Astana rider made the bedraggled pack.

How do I know? Because I saw it.

Looking more and more like Lance will not turn up at the Giro..........yet again.
Hardly a surprise.

Nothing has changed at Distana.....and I mean, nothing.
Back to the future, part 2.
 
Mar 19, 2009
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Lance (and Bruyneel) are masters at the game of publicity. I think it's silly to believe anything other then everyone on that team (and ASO, etc) knows that this whole "Lance vs. Contador" thing is anything but good for Lance, Contador, the team and quite frankly the whole race. It's high drama and completely plays off the historical LeMond-Hinault battle.

In these days when the likes of "American Idol" and "Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire" pass as real unscripted drama for most people, pulling off something like Lance is doing is child's play. It's also brilliant. I'm not saying they have the results of the race all planned out but everyone involved in the Tour knows that this whole debate has nothing but an upside. Who knows, maybe Lance and Contador really will battle it out for the win. Regardless of whom ever crosses the line first, they'll both be huge winners and they both know that. This years race could be the most watched in history. And that's going to make a lot of people smile.
 
Mar 17, 2009
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If Armstrong lines up for the start in Monaco it will be to win the race. He has the dedication and the mindset to get himself fit, the only unknown is his body and recovery rate. The Giro will tell Armstrong and others if he is capable of winning the tour. Armstrong has a similar mentality to Hinault and I think he will try to intimidate Contador just as Hinault did to Lemond. If on the first day in the mountains, Armstrong decides to take off, is Contador going to chase him? Will he be allowed to? Astana look so strong that they can probably decide who they want to win the race.

Personally, I think that Contador will beat Armstrong. Contador is at his peak whilst Armstrong has been away for four years and is past his best (he has to be). The interesting part of the race will be the difference between the riders after the 40km time trial at Annecy. The length of this TT has to favour Contador whilst the gradient of the Ventoux probably does as well. Whilst Astana are clearly the strongest on paper, we must not discount other riders. The Schleck brothers have the capacity to do some damage. Basso could be interesting in the mountains. No-one seems to give Sastre any chance of defending his title or that the difference between Leipheimer and Contador during the TDF 2007 and Vuelta 2008 was very small. The great thing about all this is that we should have a super Tour this year where hopefully we can focus on racing and not be distracted by anything else.
 
Some clarifications:

Contador is not riding the Giro. Some people are posting he is, or might, or Lance will ride for him there, etc. But AC won't even be there.

In Lance original press conference he said he was coming back to ride the Tour, listing also the TDU, TOC. He didn't even mention the Giro. About a week or two after is when the Giro talk started and got a lot of steam and Lance said he'd go for the Giro win, and maybe enter the Tour. Now, I'd suspect he rides what he can in the Giro purely for training for the Tour.

Those who keep writing like Contador is young and naive and echo the "he has a lot to learn" seem to act like he's never won anything, when the man has already won 3 GT's. Three of the last five GT's, to be precise, something even Merckx didn't accomplish. Alberto isn't this shy young boy, Levi said it himself during the TOC that Alberto is very competitive and likes to crush his rivals and has all the signs of a true champion.

Chechu said he isn't riding the Tour. He probably will ride the Giro though.

Jesus Hernandez is friends and I believe a former roomate with AC. Lance has been singing his praises for a while now. To woo him away from supporting AC and to supporting him? Who knows.

Basso originally said he was riding the Giro to win it. Now, it looks like he's saying he'll be there, but is focusing in the Tour. His team said this anyway. There's also talk that Basso is saying 2010 he will focus everything on winning the Tour. I do agree with others saying he's a wildcard at this point. He showed great talent in the past, but so far isn't riding great. He could win the Tour, or finish an hour back; neither would shock me.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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I've been really busy lately, so I haven't had a chance to keep up with the news. Where was it indicated that Basso was now focusing on the TDF?
 
Mar 17, 2009
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Don't know about his physical condition, but LA's FUD skills haven't declined in the slightest. And they're working as well as they always did.

He has the other teams hopping around already, and the season is just under way. First, its return to the Tour. Then, it's the Giro. Now, it's tuneup on the Giro and go for the Tour.

This isn't the sort of person who changes his mind on a whim, especially when it comes to competition. What you're seeing is a carefully planned approach, like a chess attack. Just updated a bit with twitter. This latest change will have other teams adjusting their rosters and training schedules, until he says something else. For all we know, he's planning to blow out the Giro and Vuelta, and skip the Tour. Even the Contador statement was planned to have an effect. He's messing with the guy.

Much as I admire Alberto's cycling ability, he's going up against a master tactician who leaves no stone unturned, and who understands better than most the impact that mental state has on cycling ability. A seed of doubt is worth 10 kilos of extra weight. Who needs dope when you have psych?

It's going to be an interesting year.
 
Mar 20, 2009
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From the L'equipe Interview earlier this week...

lookkg386 said:
Well I don't think he's riding the tour because he loves the country and it's people....
That's FUD.

Regarding the French, Here's Armstrong's comment in L'equipe from this week's interview. Armstrong is training in Nice. How are things in France? (Smile) I've never had a single problem, either in a restaurant, on the bike or in the street. Nobody never came up to me and yelled "F*** you" (he makes the finger). Quite the contrary. People on motorcycles and scooters recognize me. They slow down, roll with me, engage me in conversation: "So you'll win the Tour? " "Hey, wait, no, I don't know! "The reception is excellent in France.

Stop feeding the anti-French frenzy.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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Big Fat One

I think the ASO probably paid the Hog to come out of retirement, it's been the best thing for their business that's happened in a long time. This Contador/BigFatOne, so called fued is generating interest like nothing in the last few years
 
Basso has been given the ASO OK to ride the LBL, so, in theory, they would not stop him riding the Tour, were he to shift focus.
He could drop the Vuelta, in favour of the Tour, at any time, depending upon how he comes out of the Giro.

You won't get any pointers, as yet, but he wouldn't be the first rider to change his racing schedule.:rolleyes:
 
Mar 12, 2009
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grimpeur said:
That's FUD.

Regarding the French, Here's Armstrong's comment in L'equipe from this week's interview. Armstrong is training in Nice. How are things in France? (Smile) I've never had a single problem, either in a restaurant, on the bike or in the street. Nobody never came up to me and yelled "F*** you" (he makes the finger). Quite the contrary. People on motorcycles and scooters recognize me. They slow down, roll with me, engage me in conversation: "So you'll win the Tour? " "Hey, wait, no, I don't know! "The reception is excellent in France.

Stop feeding the anti-French frenzy.
Sounds more like it.
 
Mar 7, 2009
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I think that Astana will, as a team under Bruyneel's orders, work for the strongest rider. AC has been time-trialing VERY well the last few weeks. So he made a mistake in T-A - hasn't LA made any mistakes? LA will ride the Monaco ITT as hard as he can to win it, and so will AC, Levi, and every other contender. When they hit the climbs, another "sort" may come up, but I do think that the team will do what is required of it. Where things might get interesting is if LA and AC are within a few seconds of each on the next-to-last stage up Ventoux. If things aren't that close, and AC is leading, I can see the possibility of LA pulling AC up the climb for time gains, with an "if we are alone near the top, I get this one" agreement, as LA has wanted to win on Ventoux for so long. That assumes that this situation arises, of course. LA will have his work cut out to win the TdF, but then again, if anyone knows what that work is, it's him. I'd like to see him go to win the Giro, and help AC or Levi if they are strong in July (and going for it if they aren't), but what I want doesn't seem to count for much...
 

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