Armstrong riding to win Tour of France?

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Apr 1, 2009
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Last year, four things happened.
1. Both Ricco and Sella tested positive to CERA. Contador had beaten them in the Giro despite the fact that he was sitting on the beach relaxing a week before it started.
2. Many people were understandably calling for retrospective testing of urine samples from the Giro for CERA once the test for it was announced.
3. Lance announced his comeback and that he would ride the Giro (generating huge $$$ for the Giro in 2009).
4. The Giro organisers announce that they won't do any further testing on Giro samples...

Contador owes Armstrong big time for getting him off the hook.
Contador will be riding for Armstrong in the Tour.
 
Mar 26, 2009
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Cycling is not a game.

Armstrong talk only amounts to predictions.

Facts include:

The Astana team is superior.

Before retirement, Armstrong rode year round without missing many days. He?s missed and is missing more days than ever.

His presence on Astana is motivating Contador, who already is great.

Armstrong relied on His team in the past. He made requirements of those teams that He is unable to control today.

In the past, Armstrong ruled. That had the effect of making for less than a super Tour. It was more and more predictable. This may be a similar situation due to being on a superior team, with the only question being between 2 riders on the same team.

There seems to be little question; Astana will win. The certainty is greater than before when Armstrong won while the solo leader. Now with 2 roulers, there is less question; one of them will win.

Now, Armstrong has already missed more days on the saddle due to injury than He has perhaps in a 3 year span before.

My wish is that Armstrong was on a team as the undisputed leader with out the other contenders.

I wish Levi was on a team that use Him as a leader and Kloden was on another team as its leader and Contador was on His own team and Basso was on His team and Sastra and Evens etc. etc.

That?s what would make a super Tour.

The way it is now includes the game of politics.

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And cycling is not supposed to be a game.

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In the past, Armstrong has been able to control a team and be ?a master tactician who leaves no stone unturned.? He doesn?t control the team like He used to. Today, He is unable to do that. The team is not built around Him today.
 
Apr 1, 2009
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The GCW said:
Armstrong relied on His team in the past. He made requirements of those teams that He is unable to control today.
<snip>
The team is not built around Him today.
When you refer to someone as "Him" or "He" starting with a capital "H" when the word is not the first in the sentence, you are implying that he is God.

Armstrong is not the messiah. He is just a very naughty boy.
 
The GCW said:
Armstrong talk only amounts to predictions.
There seems to be little question; Astana will win.

Facts include:
The Astana team is superior.
Before retirement, Armstrong rode year round without missing many days.
In the past, Armstrong ruled. That had the effect of making for less than a super Tour. It was more and more predictable
Fact 1: Is a prediction
Fact 2: On paper
Fact 3: Is true.......If July is the end of the year and June it's beginning.
This is the first year he's sat on a bike in Jan/Feb.
Without wanting to defend the guy, he had his most extensive season ever, pencilled in. It's a bit hard not to miss a few weeks with a plate holding your bones together.
Fact 4: True.
 
Apr 1, 2009
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I believe he will, as always, try to win. I also believe he believes he can do it.
I, on the other hand don't believe that he can.
If he will, like he said so many times, ride for the strongest rider on the team, then he should ride for Contador.
But there lies the problem. How do you decide who is the strongest?
Armstrong would no doubt like to have that decided after the TT, while Contador would at least wait 'till Andorre Arcalis (stage 7).
In my opinion Bruyneel should stop being LA's best friend and act like a directeur sportif.
 
Mar 19, 2009
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It is not a decision Bruyneel has to make in April and certainly not to the media. The team wants to send a very strong squad to the Tour, including several top class GT riders capable of finishing on the podium. The challenge for Bruyneel, given the July objective, is adopting a strategy which keeps all these riders motivated. Establishing a pecking order now and openly would not do this.

Looking at the Tour parcours, the strongest rider may not be decided until the third week. Before then, the difference between AC, LL, AK and a fit LA may be down to just seconds.
 
Apr 1, 2009
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inputjoe said:
It is not a decision Bruyneel has to make in April and certainly not to the media. The team wants to send a very strong squad to the Tour, including several top class GT riders capable of finishing on the podium. The challenge for Bruyneel, given the July objective, is adopting a strategy which keeps all these riders motivated. Establishing a pecking order now and openly would not do this.

Looking at the Tour parcours, the strongest rider may not be decided until the third week. Before then, the difference between AC, LL, AK and a fit LA may be down to just seconds.
LA has shown nothing yet. Right now both Levi and AC are stronger than him, as they will be in July.
AK doesn't figure in my mind. Though I respect his quality and potential, he doesn't seem to be interested in riding to win in the GT's, he'll be an excellent helper as always.
 
Mar 19, 2009
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Lance will win if he "tunes up" properly he he he. But Basso is impressive to when scientifically "prepared". :cool:
 
Mar 18, 2009
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The GCW said:
I wish Levi was on a team that use Him as a leader and Kloden was on another team as its leader and Contador was on His own team and Basso was on His team and Sastra and Evens etc. etc.
That is a tour I would like to see.
 
Mar 17, 2009
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Personally, I think LA's ego finally got the best of him. He's not 32, he hasn't been riding regularly for three years, and the competition is as fierce as it always was. Given the slender margin of victory in a GT, it doesn't take much to tip the balance. Remember Michael Jordan's comeback in basketball. Some times, just being you isn't enough.

I'd like to think Contador could lead a team, but I get the feeling he's like Ullrich - plenty of talent, but not really leadership material.

Bruyneel can't stop being LA's best friend. LA pretty much made him, without that he'd be an occasional commentator on Belgian television.

As for Basso - out of competition for two years, and running on low octane blood this time. Convicted dopers never really seem to come back these days. Millar is still riding - isn't he?

I will be particularly interested to see how the Cavendish-McEwen wars shape up in the GT's. I wouldn't put it past Robbie to be sandbagging Mark in the lesser races. Then again, age may have finally caught up with him.
 
there are this factors to consider before Armstrong can Lead Astana to his 8th TDF:
1-) On the Prologue - He Cannot beat Cancellara or even Leipheimer so he has to wait until the tour progresses
2-)Stage 4 TT is a short one for LA to make a decent gap to his main contenders-so Leipheimer still to me a favorite for this TT -or even Alberto, which has shown improvements in this kind of lenght. Evans won't shy away either
3-)First big stage mountain is on stage 7 finishing in Spain-Alberto knows this is the right time to take the lead- even reclaim it if either Levi or LA are in possession of it. the next real mountain stage with a climb finish comes back on stage 15.
4-) before the final TT there are some stages with a lot of climbing but flat or sloped finish-which could bring surprises to LA or even AC
5-) TT is 40Km-not long enough to widen a gap or secure the malliot yet--so LA has to destroy the oposition before mount Ventoux
6-) the holy Mount Ventoux has been a misfortune for LA and can be his burial is the time gaps aren't enough to control an angry AC, a motivated Levi, the Aggressive Schleck Brothers, or some climber like Basso or even Sastre trying to get some time back...

So nothing is set on stone for Lance, as far as I see it:cool:
 
Mar 18, 2009
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TrapperJohn said:
Personally, I think LA's ego finally got the best of him. He's not 32, he hasn't been riding regularly for three years, and the competition is as fierce as it always was. Given the slender margin of victory in a GT, it doesn't take much to tip the balance. Remember Michael Jordan's comeback in basketball. Some times, just being you isn't enough.
+1

Leaving aside what effect drugs might have, that four years off and four years older is huge. Then there is motivation. If he retired because he was sick of game, can he regain the fire in the belly he had before. It might be similar to what commonly happens when people sell their businesses. They lose direction in their lives and miss running their company, but if they try to go back then they quickly become aware of all the things that made them sell in the first place.
 
Mar 18, 2009
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Mellow Velo said:
Glad to see you seem to have gotten over your "little problem", BD.;)
I have not gotten over it. Different IP address. I am still waiting for whoever is in charge of this cage of monkeys to respond.
 
Apr 3, 2009
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TrapperJohn said:
Personally, I think LA's ego finally got the best of him. He's not 32, he hasn't been riding regularly for three years, and the competition is as fierce as it always was. Given the slender margin of victory in a GT, it doesn't take much to tip the balance. Remember Michael Jordan's comeback in basketball. Some times, just being you isn't enough.

I'd like to think Contador could lead a team, but I get the feeling he's like Ullrich - plenty of talent, but not really leadership material.

Bruyneel can't stop being LA's best friend. LA pretty much made him, without that he'd be an occasional commentator on Belgian television.

As for Basso - out of competition for two years, and running on low octane blood this time. Convicted dopers never really seem to come back these days. Millar is still riding - isn't he?

I will be particularly interested to see how the Cavendish-McEwen wars shape up in the GT's. I wouldn't put it past Robbie to be sandbagging Mark in the lesser races. Then again, age may have finally caught up with him.
I disagree with you massively. Anyone as competitive and driven as Armstrong will never just make up the numbers, ego or not! And as for your comment on Jordan:

In his comeback year for the Washington Wizards he he led the team in scoring (22.90 ppg), assists (5.2 apg), and steals (1.42 spg) even though he had an injured right knee. Still went to the All Star
 
Apr 3, 2009
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I can't see Lance riding le tour unless he knows he can be sure to win, donc bon chance Lance;)
 
Mar 10, 2009
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atmo, Lance will not finish in the top 10 in the tour. he will lose time to team mates and GC contenders in all of the ITT. Discotana will not win the TTT. other teams WILL attack this year, as already witnessed at P-N albeit against a weaker non-GT squad. there is far more competitive depth in the field than 4 years ago when LA last rode. LA's age will work against him in both the Pyrenees and Alps. because of his deficit on GC from the ITT's, Discotana will not be able to afford to wait for him/drag him over to rival attacks as they happen. it will be left to AC and LL to defend/make attacks and ride off into the sunset. finally, the nemesis that is Mont Ventoux is lurking on the horizon to break any final aspirations that may still be lingering.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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inputjoe said:
It is not a decision Bruyneel has to make in April and certainly not to the media.
"Lance has always said that Alberto Contador is the best stage racer in the world today. I've said it. Levi (Leipheimer) has said it. Lance will not attack Alberto in the mountains. Alberto will be protected the entire race. And Lance will be the man immediately in front of Alberto blocking the wind," said Johan Bruyneel, the team's general manager. "It doesn't get any better than that, having a 7-time Tour champion pulling you up mountains."
 
Mar 19, 2009
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Lance will NOT want to lose this Tour in my opinion, and he'll come into it with similar power numbers as before. But we'll see.

Ivan Basso is not mentioned because he is supposedly not riding the Tour, well we'll see what Basso eventually does. I think Ivan will win the Giro and possibly the Tour ahead of Lance. He rode very well at the Japan Cup last year, you have to be very jacked to ride that well against other world class riders that are super jacked. Not to mean any undertones, just adding emphasis.

Contador is a solid Grand Tour winner but Lance has power over him, just like Lance has power over the whole sport. (And tried to buy the Tour de France in 2006) And Basso in my opinion is a bigger threat to Lance if he goes for it.
 
Mar 19, 2009
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BigBoat said:
And Basso in my opinion is a bigger threat to Lance if he goes for it.

One thing about poor Basso, his team is not NEARLY as strong as Lance's for a super-important event like the Team Time Trial. The TTT is where this Tour could be won and lost (seconds) and it favors the big money programs with the knowledge and knowhow to go about business at maximum levels. There are a lot of strong guys that could do very well with Lance's team & program. They will lose in part because of the TTT.
 
I'd like to think Contador could lead a team, but I get the feeling he's like Ullrich - plenty of talent, but not really leadership material.
The guy did win 3 of the last 5 GT's. How much more do you need to be considered a leader?!

Bruyneel can't stop being LA's best friend. LA pretty much made him, without that he'd be an occasional commentator on Belgian television.
That I completely agree with. And I think that's going to potentially cloud JB's perspective, especially if/as Lance tries to win the Tour.

Basso is a huge question mark. Most dopers that come back clean turn (back) into average riders, (or return to doping). Basso showed so much talent for so long though, one would have to think he might be able to rise to the top. We'll know soon.
 
cooperbear said:
I disagree with you massively. Anyone as competitive and driven as Armstrong will never just make up the numbers, ego or not! And as for your comment on Jordan:

In his comeback year for the Washington Wizards he he led the team in scoring (22.90 ppg), assists (5.2 apg), and steals (1.42 spg) even though he had an injured right knee. Still went to the All Star
Going to the All Star game isn't necessarily based on one's performance. I'm guessing that he was voted on by the fans which means lots of kids with life size pictures of Jordan on their wall likely stuffed the ballot boxes. That Washington team really wasn't very impressive so for him to lead in those stats was expected and not something to be marvel at.

Upon his return he was a shadow of his former self, with little of the spring left in his jump, a major decrease in his once stellar defensive abilities and his scoring limited to primarily his now perfected fade away jumper.
 

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