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Armstrong: Simeoni chasedown 2004

May 22, 2010
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I thought this footage had been buried after searching for it over the last year. Check out LA's 'zip the lips' gesture 00:16 into the footage.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pJHCGx_GZkA

"Well, I think the misconception is that I chased him. I was on the wheel. I didn’t chase him. I mean, I didn’t go across to him. I was on the wheel. And I’m in the yellow jersey, he’s attacking, I’m on the wheel, I’m thinking, “Of course, Ullrich’s there. Of course, Klöden’s there. Of course, Basso’s there. Of course, all these guys are there. Of course."

Of course...
 
Jul 29, 2010
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Yes, and in the same TdF when Simeoni would go for KOM points and LA would chase him down, it wasn't b/c LA was being a petty vindictive bullying D*CK, it was simply b/c he was stretching his legs.

Of course.
 
Jul 23, 2009
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luckyboy said:
Anyone know what Simeoni said in the interview afterwards?
Basically that Armstrong showed us what kind of person he is, and that he wouldn't give a rider like Simeoni who was no threat to him a chance to pursue his goals in the tour.
 
Alpe d'Huez said:
I've seen this several times. Every time it's just despicable.

I always wondered if it were someone not so passive as Simeoni, but someone with a more, shall we say "blunt" personality, what they would have done?

This was written in Bicycling magazine at the time & sums up the entire saga well:

Armstrong's comment that other riders supported him is ugly as well. For one, it underlines that cycling still has an omerta, or a code of silence. While the rider's union might be a laughable one from the standpoint of labor relations with team management or the UCI, it clearly enforces rigid conformist behavior among its own. Simeoni's ostracization is just another sad chapter in a book that includes sections on Jesus Manzano, Christophe Bassons, Jerome Chiotti, Paul Kimmage and any other pro cyclist who has the temerity to say publicly that not only did he dope, but others do too, even if no names are used.

Simeoni will very likely not be a professional cyclist next year. He has, after all, bit the hand that fed him, ****ed off the world's most powerful cyclist and appears to have few allies in his court. Perhaps he can get a ride with Amore e Vita, the controversial Italian team which is known for throwing last-chance contracts at reformed dopers (last week, they offered just such a gig to David Millar, who was sacked by his Cofidis team).

Bike racing will probably always have doping of some kind, and there will be many riders, even clean ones, who want to protect their earning power ignoring its problems, saying "we do more than anyone to combat doping," and so on.

But this issue speaks to something else besides the sport's unhealthy little addiction; it speaks to Armstrong. What does it take for this man to be satisfied? And how are we, fans of the sport, to reconcile two utterly adverse sides of a champion? How can a man who has stared death in the face, who knows the value of his own wonderful life and has shown such remarkable, limitless and genuine compassion to his fellow cancer survivors, be so needlessly petty? From here, it looks like hate, pure and simple.
Armstrong now has six Tours, $16 million plus a year, Sheryl freaking Crow, his incredible benefit to the sport and to the cancer community and the adoration of millions of fans. Is that success so insubstantial that he must go out of his way to make someone else fail?

It's a sad epitaph to what should have been a perfect Tour for Armstrong, one where his dominant performance and sublime form confirmed him as the best racer of his era, and one of the best of all time.

I wrote weeks ago that Lance Armstrong had two sides--the public Armstrong you see on television and in his books, and a colder, spiteful one that is largely private. I wrote that if Armstrong lost this Tour de France that we might see that the private one was more his true self.

http://www.bicycling.com/news/pro-cycling/armstrong-hunts-down-rider
 
JRTinMA said:

The reference to DHEA is interesting:

After 18 months of protracted court procedure, Michele Ferrari, one of cycling's most controversial trainers, took the stand on April 17th 2003 to present his case against charges that he supplied professional cyclists with banned drugs. Ferrari's defence was two pronged; he presented a huge amount of technical information and also argued that his accusers were in league against him.

The most dramatic moment in the five-hour hearing in Bologna's criminal court came when Ferrari was asked by the judge Maurizio Passerini - why his former client Filippo Simeoni had stated that he offered him the blood booster erythropoietin (EPO) and Andriol, a testosterone preparation. "Simeoni was caught red-handed and lied to get a lighter ban. Simeoni is a damned liar, he even lied to me," said Ferrari and he added that Simeoni and two other cyclists were “in a league" against him. Ferrari also claimed that Simeoni had conspired with Italy's principal anti-drug campaigner Sandro Donati, although Donati denied ever having spoken to Simeoni. The prosecution's case is the allegation that the blood-thickness levels of Ferrari's clients varied from winter to summer, coinciding with major races, indicating the possible use of EPO.

Ferrari explained that some of his best clients, such as the 1994 World Cup winner Gianluca Bortolami and the double Giro d'Italia winner Ivan Gotti had unhealthily high blood iron levels, and he had advised them to donate blood in the winter to reduce the iron content at a time when it would not affect their performance.

Ferrari went on to explain the banned drugs he had been linked with. Ferrari said that the youth hormone DHEA was for his father’s rheumatism. The iron supplements were for his mother in law and that Androstene, a testosterone booster, was connected to his studies on impotence.
 
“First off, I did not chase Simeoni down,” Armstrong said. “I was simply following his wheel. That is the truth of the matter. I never bridged across to Simeoni. He was in front of me, people were attacking, he accelerated, and I stayed on the wheel. We have footage of the race that will back that up. There was never more than bike length between us. There was no gap closed. There’s a big difference between following wheels and closing a gap.”

Armstrong said he’d naturally expected the peloton to follow, and was surprised to see that the pair had opened a gap when they reached the day’s breakaway a few kilometers later.

“I was completely shocked when I turned around and there was no one on my wheel,” Armstrong said. “I was fully expecting to see the rest of the group, because I was in the [yellow] jersey. But Simeoni pulled for two minutes, and I followed his wheel. That’s racing. He really was a minor story that day. I knew T-Mobile would have to work, and that was good for us, to make your biggest adversaries work to chase down a break. It was two minutes at the biggest gap, and that meant they would have to work hard to chase us down.”

And what about the infamous images of Armstrong flashing Simeoni the international “zip the lips” gesture? Armstrong said that had nothing to do with Simeoni’s comments about Armstrong’s relationship with Ferrari, and everything to do with the Italian rider’s loud protests in the breakaway group.

“People will say that was all about the omerta, the code of silence,” Armstrong said. “That’s nonsense. It’s because Simeoni was yelling at everybody, about everything. We joined the breakaway, and everyone was working except him. He was sitting on. I was working with guys in the group. He would not pull, but he was yelling about everything.”

As for Simeoni’s claims that once he and Armstrong returned to the peloton his colleagues berated him with insults, telling him he had “dirtied the name of the peloton and spoiled the plate that I had eaten from all of my life,” Armstrong said simply, “That wasn’t my intention. I was racing my bike. I can’t apologize for racing my bike.”
 
thehog said:
“First off, I did not chase Simeoni down,” Armstrong said. “I was simply following his wheel. That is the truth of the matter. I never bridged across to Simeoni. He was in front of me, people were attacking, he accelerated, and I stayed on the wheel. We have footage of the race that will back that up. There was never more than bike length between us. There was no gap closed. There’s a big difference between following wheels and closing a gap.”

Armstrong said he’d naturally expected the peloton to follow, and was surprised to see that the pair had opened a gap when they reached the day’s breakaway a few kilometers later.

“I was completely shocked when I turned around and there was no one on my wheel,” Armstrong said. “I was fully expecting to see the rest of the group, because I was in the [yellow] jersey. But Simeoni pulled for two minutes, and I followed his wheel. That’s racing. He really was a minor story that day. I knew T-Mobile would have to work, and that was good for us, to make your biggest adversaries work to chase down a break. It was two minutes at the biggest gap, and that meant they would have to work hard to chase us down.”

And what about the infamous images of Armstrong flashing Simeoni the international “zip the lips” gesture? Armstrong said that had nothing to do with Simeoni’s comments about Armstrong’s relationship with Ferrari, and everything to do with the Italian rider’s loud protests in the breakaway group.

“People will say that was all about the omerta, the code of silence,” Armstrong said. “That’s nonsense. It’s because Simeoni was yelling at everybody, about everything. We joined the breakaway, and everyone was working except him. He was sitting on. I was working with guys in the group. He would not pull, but he was yelling about everything.”

As for Simeoni’s claims that once he and Armstrong returned to the peloton his colleagues berated him with insults, telling him he had “dirtied the name of the peloton and spoiled the plate that I had eaten from all of my life,” Armstrong said simply, “That wasn’t my intention. I was racing my bike. I can’t apologize for racing my bike.”

Contrast that statement above with what he said on the day of 2004:

"On his way to an unprecedented sixth Tour win, Armstrong's action today is hard to interpret. He explained that "I was protecting the interests of the peloton" to French TV after the stage and continued by saying, "The story of Simeoni is not a fair story...there's a long history there. All (journalists) want to write about is parts of the story. It's a long history...a guy like (Simeoni), all he wants to do is to destroy cycling...and for me, that's not correct. And I when I went back to the group they said 'chapeau'...thank you very much. Because they understand that (cycling) is their job and that they absolutely love it and they're committed to it and don't want somebody within their sport destroying it. So...for me it's no problem to go on the wheel, to follow the wheel."

http://autobus.cyclingnews.com/road/2004/tour04/?id=results/stage18
 

jimmypop

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Jul 16, 2010
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Digger said:
Contrast that statement above with what he said on the day of 2004:

"On his way to an unprecedented sixth Tour win, Armstrong's action today is hard to interpret. He explained that "I was protecting the interests of the peloton" to French TV after the stage and continued by saying, "The story of Simeoni is not a fair story...there's a long history there. All (journalists) want to write about is parts of the story. It's a long history...a guy like (Simeoni), all he wants to do is to destroy cycling...and for me, that's not correct. And I when I went back to the group they said 'chapeau'...thank you very much. Because they understand that (cycling) is their job and that they absolutely love it and they're committed to it and don't want somebody within their sport destroying it. So...for me it's no problem to go on the wheel, to follow the wheel."

http://autobus.cyclingnews.com/road/2004/tour04/?id=results/stage18

Sort of says it all, doesn't it?
 
Jul 6, 2010
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Are you sure the peloton said 'chapeau', and not 'foure toi'? Could sound roughly the same to an anglo with the noise of the pack and all, but with profoundly different meanings...

I'm going with the latter...
 
Jul 6, 2010
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Alpe d'Huez said:
I've seen this several times. Every time it's just despicable.

I always wondered if it were someone not so passive as Simeoni, but someone with a more, shall we say "blunt" personality, what they would have done?

I'd be thinking of putting him a bit on the outside, look left with an arm up for the car, and drift right with his bars on my hip... straight into the ditch...
 
Maybe the best thing to do would have been, to drop back then when Armstrong least expects it, attack get a gap and join the breakaway. If Armstrong wants to waste energy catcching up to the breakaway let him. If he does, attack again, this time out of the breakaway. He follows, let him. Armstrong was the Maillot Jaune, he wants to tire himself out on a flat stage, let him.
 
Oct 16, 2009
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thehog said:
I wrote weeks ago that Lance Armstrong had two sides--the public Armstrong you see on television and in his books, and a colder, spiteful one that is largely private. I wrote that if Armstrong lost this Tour de France that we might see that the private one was more his true self.

http://www.bicycling.com/news/pro-cycling/armstrong-hunts-down-rider
That's not a bad prediction.
thehog said:
“That’s nonsense. It’s because Simeoni was yelling at everybody, about everything. We joined the breakaway, and everyone was working except him. He was sitting on. I was working with guys in the group. He would not pull, but he was yelling about everything.”
LOL! What a clown. Stay out of politics, Lance, you're a terrible liar.
 
Sep 24, 2010
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Mr.DNA said:
I look fondly on that day as the time I finally allowed myself to see the truth.

Same with me...that is the moment when I stopped all the self-rationalizations about LA that I was using to justify my being a fan of his.

That one incident really says it all about his character.