Armstrong warns all his rivals!

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Nov 17, 2009
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Big GMaC said:
above Lance:

AC
AS
Sastre
Nibali
Pelizotti
FS
Basso

Maybe:

FS
Valverde
Evans
As I said before... Lance tried to go with Contador on Verbier and flat couldn't do it. He used all his energy, redlined and was passed by many others.

But on every other climb last year, Lance finished with or ahead of every rider aside from Contador and the Schlecks. On Ventoux he dropped Pelizotti, Nibali, Sastre, and Evans from your list. On Grand Bornand he dropped everyone other then the Schlecks, AC and Nibali. Nibali and Pelizotti were dropped by Lance's group on Arcalis early in the tour.

Now Pellizotti wasn't trying for the overall... but he won't be next year either so I'm not sure it matters. The point is you put guys ahead of Lance seemingly just because of Verbier... but 2 stages later after losing a minute to Sastre on Verbier... Lance puts 5 minutes into Sastre on Grand Bornand... and destroyed Evans by 27 minutes.

I know people don't like Lance... and I agree that he can't beat Contador or Andy Schleck and could only beat Frank due to time trials... but I simply don't see anyone else from last year's tour who outperformed him overall in the climbs.

Could Gesink, and in-shape Menchov, Valverde or Basso? Perhaps. But putting guys who were clearly outclimbed by Lance last year doesn't make a whole lot of sense.
 
Mar 18, 2009
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I'd hardly say that Armstrong 'put time into' Sastre or 'destroyed' Evans - he didn't put in a single attack during the entire race. He hung onto the coattails of the lead group in the shelter of an Astana team riding to protect him but that's a very different scenario than the one you're suggesting.
 
Nov 17, 2009
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Publicus said:
Well obviously I disagree. I seem to recall Frank Schleck, Wiggins and Nibali riding away from Lance at Verbier. Same again for Frank on Col de Romme/Colombier. I saw Basso doing extremely well at the Giro (not going to compare the two because one was riding for GC the other was getting base training in) considering he was out for two years.

I can't comment on Gesink or Valverde since they've not been in a recent race with Armstrong (though the fact that Armstrong couldn't/didn't make the selection on Willunga Road at the TDU and Valverde does give one an indication), but I'm confident that Valverde definitely could (I'll reserve opinion on that one).

And yes, Liquigas is going to be the business at the TdF. That's why I think this notion that Armstrong is going to be in a pitched battle with Alberto is glossing over the depth of this field. There will be racing happening in the mountains and I'm just not sold on Armstrong's ability to race (rather than mark wheels) in the mountains for multiple stages. He's going to miss having AC on his team this year more than he realizes.
Lance rode away from Wiggins on Grand Bornand, Wiggins and Nibali on Ventoux. It LOOKED like Lance could have hurt Frank on Ventoux if he needed to... but that could be misleading.

The problem with Frank is his TT ability is below average, and he seems to be much more erratic in his performance. On a good day, Frank can equal AC and his brother. On a bad day he's behind some of other good climbers. Others seem a lot more consistent then Frank... maybe not quite the same top end, but they don't drop as far on bad days either.
 
ImmaculateKadence said:
Good point, but Lance stayed with or left all those guys on Ventoux. Valverde, on the other hand, is the one guy I think could knock Lance off the podium. Assuming he doesn't have his typical bad day, he is one of the most complete riders in the pro peloton.

As for the mountains, the TTT last year gave Lance a cushion, so it will be interesting going into these mountain stages without a TTT how he will respond to a thicker field. I think this has potential to be the best racing we've seen in years at the TdF, and I wouldn't be at all surprised to see Liquigas totally shake things up.
That is also a fair point to make. I think Armstrong can defend against most of these guys except for the elite climbers. That being said, I don't see him being a position to defend a podium slot. He's going to have to earn it--whether it be on the cobbles or in the mountains, but he won't have the benefit of the TTT.

And Liquigas is my pick for the strongest team in the 2010 TdF. I could easily see a podium of AC, AS and Basso/Nibali (depending on who is stronger in the TT).
 
kurtinsc said:
Lance rode away from Wiggins on Grand Bornand, Wiggins and Nibali on Ventoux. It LOOKED like Lance could have hurt Frank on Ventoux if he needed to... but that could be misleading.

The problem with Frank is his TT ability is below average, and he seems to be much more erratic in his performance. On a good day, Frank can equal AC and his brother. On a bad day he's behind some of other good climbers. Others seem a lot more consistent then Frank... maybe not quite the same top end, but they don't drop as far on bad days either.
All of that is very true. Wiggins was turning himself out to bridge the gap to the Brothers Schleck, AC and Kloden. And on Ventoux Armstrong was in the position to defend. When the race was in the balance Armstrong was bested (Verbier). My point earlier was that when he is forced to race (which is what happened at Verbier), he can be beaten. Because Astana had yellow, he was no longer racing for first but defending his podium position. That's easier to do (IMO) than racing for a position. I hope that makes sense.

As for the Brothers Schleck, I think they are a little too dependent on one another to really be a complete threat. Frankly, I think Andy needs to branch out on his own and develop his racing instincts a bit better. But I agree with you, their TT-ing ability costs them dearly in the GTs.
 
Nov 17, 2009
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bianchigirl said:
I'd hardly say that Armstrong 'put time into' Sastre or 'destroyed' Evans - he didn't put in a single attack during the entire race. He hung onto the coattails of the lead group in the shelter of an Astana team riding to protect him but that's a very different scenario than the one you're suggesting.
On Grand Bornand, he certianly did attack. His goal in the stage was to put time on Wiggins, who he saw as his main threat for the podium.

At that point, he had given up on Andy and Alberto... and his view of Frank's TT ability was that he wasn't a real threat. So he didn't exhaust himself trying to go with that group.

But after the lead group had gone, Armstrong attacked Wiggins several times. He dropped Nibali on the climb, but Nibali caught him on the descent. Wiggins couldn't.

YOu can read CN's coverage of it if you want confirmation.
 
kurtinsc said:
As I said before... Lance tried to go with Contador on Verbier and flat couldn't do it. He used all his energy, redlined and was passed by many others.

But on every other climb last year, Lance finished with or ahead of every rider aside from Contador and the Schlecks. On Ventoux he dropped Pelizotti, Nibali, Sastre, and Evans from your list. On Grand Bornand he dropped everyone other then the Schlecks, AC and Nibali. Nibali and Pelizotti were dropped by Lance's group on Arcalis early in the tour.

Now Pellizotti wasn't trying for the overall... but he won't be next year either so I'm not sure it matters. The point is you put guys ahead of Lance seemingly just because of Verbier... but 2 stages later after losing a minute to Sastre on Verbier... Lance puts 5 minutes into Sastre on Grand Bornand... and destroyed Evans by 27 minutes.

I know people don't like Lance... and I agree that he can't beat Contador or Andy Schleck and could only beat Frank due to time trials... but I simply don't see anyone else from last year's tour who outperformed him overall in the climbs.

Could Gesink, and in-shape Menchov, Valverde or Basso? Perhaps. But putting guys who were clearly outclimbed by Lance last year doesn't make a whole lot of sense.
I use Verbier as a reference only because after that point, Armstrong really wasn't racing so much as defending his podium position. Same goes for AC. Once he was in yellow, he was largely just riding wheels (save the oft debated, but not to be revisited, counter-attack on the Colombiere). Whereas for Wiggins, Nibali and Frank Schleck they were racing up until the very end and expended a great deal more energy than Armstrong. That's why he looked so fresh on Ventoux compared to them. At least in my opinion.
 
kurtinsc said:
On Grand Bornand, he certianly did attack. His goal in the stage was to put time on Wiggins, who he saw as his main threat for the podium.

At that point, he had given up on Andy and Alberto... and his view of Frank's TT ability was that he wasn't a real threat. So he didn't exhaust himself trying to go with that group.

But after the lead group had gone, Armstrong attacked Wiggins several times. He dropped Nibali on the climb, but Nibali caught him on the descent. Wiggins couldn't.

YOu can read CN's coverage of it if you want confirmation.
Really? I recall two times: (1) when he tried to escape after being left behind and (2) when Wiggins finally popped (which I don't really consider an attack). I'll have to re-read the coverage from that day...
 
Nov 22, 2009
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Publicus said:
All of that is very true. Wiggins was turning himself out to bridge the gap to the Brothers Schleck, AC and Kloden. And on Ventoux Armstrong was in the position to defend. When the race was in the balance Armstrong was bested (Verbier). My point earlier was that when he is forced to race (which is what happened at Verbier), he can be beaten. Because Astana had yellow, he was no longer racing for first but defending his podium position. That's easier to do (IMO) than racing for a position. I hope that makes sense.

As for the Brothers Schleck, I think they are a little too dependent on one another to really be a complete threat. Frankly, I think Andy needs to branch out on his own and develop his racing instincts a bit better. But I agree with you, their TT-ing ability costs them dearly in the GTs.
I agree. He had to just keep pace with Frank on ventoux to keep third place. Besides, the wind had been so wicked that it appeared to keep everyone a bit on the defensive in fear it could rear up again.

LA kept near the front to see if AS had a bad day which he didn't. Nor did AC. Ventoux was a bit of anti climax. Lance is at his best when following wheels like he did with Frank. He couldn't accelerate up a hill, (Arcalis/Verbier).

God I can't wait for the season to get going.

It's amazing to still be talking about it a full 6 months + later. (Amazing as in 'GOOD!' not 'LAME!')
 
Nov 17, 2009
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Publicus said:
All of that is very true. Wiggins was turning himself out to bridge the gap to the Brothers Schleck, AC and Kloden. And on Ventoux Armstrong was in the position to defend. When the race was in the balance Armstrong was bested (Verbier). My point earlier was that when he is forced to race (which is what happened at Verbier), he can be beaten. Because Astana had yellow, he was no longer racing for first but defending his podium position. That's easier to do (IMO) than racing for a position. I hope that makes sense.

As for the Brothers Schleck, I think they are a little too dependent on one another to really be a complete threat. Frankly, I think Andy needs to branch out on his own and develop his racing instincts a bit better. But I agree with you, their TT-ing ability costs them dearly in the GTs.
Andy is okay in the TT's. I can envision him getting good enough to contend with Contador.

Not Frank though.



Armstrong WAS bested on Verbier... but you have to consider the way the stage went down. Lance TRIED to go with the lead group... and couldn't. He did burn a lot of juice. The others did what Lance did in later stages... they hugged his wheel... then attacked him, and Lance couldn't follow. But the time lost was 30 seconds or less to everyone other then Contador and A. Schleck.

On Grand Bornand, Lance attacked. Everyone other then the Schlecks, AC and Kloden were behind him. He had no helper. And he WAS able to drop all the others on the climb (though Nibali rejoined on the descent).

Lance's bad day was 30 seconds to the others. Sastre's bad day was 5 minutes to Lance. Evans' was 27 minutes to Lance.

If Lance rides for 3rd... he could very well do that. He's in the same climbing class as most of the other "favorites" who don't have the last name Schleck or Contador.

If he rides to win... well he'll finish lower. We'll probably see repeats of Verbier.

I'm not one who thinks he can win... but if Andy and Contador weren't there... then I think he could. Last year he was as good as everyone else... even without the TTT.
 
Nov 17, 2009
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Publicus said:
Really? I recall two times: (1) when he tried to escape after being left behind and (2) when Wiggins finally popped (which I don't really consider an attack). I'll have to re-read the coverage from that day...
Armstrong was alone in 5th when he topped the last climb. Wiggins, Nibali and everyone else had been dropped. Kloden was a minute up the road. The Schlecks and Contador were in the lead.

Nibali caught Armstrong on the descent. Nibali and Armstrong caught and dropped Kloden.

I guess you could say the point Lance pedaled hard and Wiggo and Nibali couldn't follow wasn't an "attack"... but I think it fits the traditional definition.
 
Nov 17, 2009
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Publicus said:
I use Verbier as a reference only because after that point, Armstrong really wasn't racing so much as defending his podium position. Same goes for AC. Once he was in yellow, he was largely just riding wheels (save the oft debated, but not to be revisited, counter-attack on the Colombiere). Whereas for Wiggins, Nibali and Frank Schleck they were racing up until the very end and expended a great deal more energy than Armstrong. That's why he looked so fresh on Ventoux compared to them. At least in my opinion.
That's a tough sale for me. I don't think Lance was defending with Wiggins on Grand Bornand. I think he clearly felt he needed more time to keep 3rd after the time trial. On the flip side... I don't think Wiggins or Nibali were trying to catch Contador or Andy... they were going after 3rd just like Lance was. Frank was expending energy... but for his brother rather then for himself. When it came to Grand Bornand, I think they were all on even footing after AC, AS and FS.

On Ventoux... yeah, he was definitely defending... especially with Frank who Lance probably never thought would have done as well as he did on the TT.
 
kurtinsc said:
Armstrong was alone in 5th when he topped the last climb. Wiggins, Nibali and everyone else had been dropped. Kloden was a minute up the road. The Schlecks and Contador were in the lead.

Nibali caught Armstrong on the descent. Nibali and Armstrong caught and dropped Kloden.

I guess you could say the point Lance pedaled hard and Wiggo and Nibali couldn't follow wasn't an "attack"... but I think it fits the traditional definition.
Cute. Wiggins imploded under his own workload, which I don't call be dropped by Armstrong. I had forgotten Nibali was with that group, so his inability to respond when he wasn't conducting the chase (VdV and Wiggins were), then he was dropped.
 
kurtinsc said:
That's a tough sale for me. I don't think Lance was defending with Wiggins on Grand Bornand. I think he clearly felt he needed more time to keep 3rd after the time trial. On the flip side... I don't think Wiggins or Nibali were trying to catch Contador or Andy... they were going after 3rd just like Lance was. Frank was expending energy... but for his brother rather then for himself. When it came to Grand Bornand, I think they were all on even footing after AC, AS and FS.

On Ventoux... yeah, he was definitely defending... especially with Frank who Lance probably never thought would have done as well as he did on the TT.
I know Wiggins was racing on Grand Bornand, but Lance wasn't. He technically couldn't simply because he had a man up the road. If he was taking turns on the front with Wiggins and VandeVelde he would have been hurting himself and violating an unwritten rule of cycling (sort of like he and Kloden did on Verbier, but I digress). That's why I say he wasn't racing. He was observing the convention. Once Wiggins popped, he was cleared to go and he went. Nibali couldn't stay with him until the descent.
 
Armstrong sucked on Wiggins's wheel, until Brad was just about used up, then, he rode up towards Kloden, who had blown completely.
Actually, this was the correct tactic, unlike Verbier, which was all about desperation.
Anyhow, I digress. While it was an attack of sorts, he was still losing ground on the 3 out front.

Ventoux was all about the vent. Nobody was gaining much there. Again, Lance can thank Kloden for his being there.
 
kurtinsc said:
Andy is okay in the TT's. I can envision him getting good enough to contend with Contador.

Not Frank though.

Armstrong WAS bested on Verbier... but you have to consider the way the stage went down. Lance TRIED to go with the lead group... and couldn't. He did burn a lot of juice. The others did what Lance did in later stages... they hugged his wheel... then attacked him, and Lance couldn't follow. But the time lost was 30 seconds or less to everyone other then Contador and A. Schleck.
I'm not sure what your point is here. Yes he only lost 30 seconds to others. A minute plus to AC. There were not large gaps with the other contenders, it was a relatively short stage. My point is that after that stage Lance was no longer racing for yellow after Stage 15 because he had a teammate in yellow. Andy, on the other hand, wanted the yellow jersey and you saw him put in attack, after attack, after attack between Stages 16 and 17. Lance, on the other hand, followed wheels and took time on his podium rivals where the opportunity to arose.=, but ultimately just played defense. That's why I don't place too much emphasis on what happened after Verbier.

By his own admission he wants to win the TdF, not just podium. To do that, he's going to have to beat the best climbers in the world on their best terrain. So like Andy on Stages 16 and 17, he's going to have to lay down the gauntlet and race. And the only place I've seen him RACE to win was Verbier. And he lost. Frankly, I can very much see Lance in a Wiggans type position next year. Trying to stay close to the best climbers with the idea of beating them in the final TT, but because of his efforts to stay close, he doesn't have the legs/energy to put substantial time into them.

EDIT: Didn't get to my original point. I don't see Andy getting any closer to AC in the TT. AC has ALWAYS been good at the TT (check his palmares). Andy has NEVER been good at them. I could see AC putting a full two minutes into AS in the final TT this year.
 
kurtinsc said:
Andy is okay in the TT's. I can envision him getting good enough to contend with Contador.

Not Frank though.



Armstrong WAS bested on Verbier... but you have to consider the way the stage went down. Lance TRIED to go with the lead group... and couldn't. He did burn a lot of juice. The others did what Lance did in later stages... they hugged his wheel... then attacked him, and Lance couldn't follow. But the time lost was 30 seconds or less to everyone other then Contador and A. Schleck.

On Grand Bornand, Lance attacked. Everyone other then the Schlecks, AC and Kloden were behind him. He had no helper. And he WAS able to drop all the others on the climb (though Nibali rejoined on the descent).

Lance's bad day was 30 seconds to the others. Sastre's bad day was 5 minutes to Lance. Evans' was 27 minutes to Lance.

If Lance rides for 3rd... he could very well do that. He's in the same climbing class as most of the other "favorites" who don't have the last name Schleck or Contador.

If he rides to win... well he'll finish lower. We'll probably see repeats of Verbier.

I'm not one who thinks he can win... but if Andy and Contador weren't there... then I think he could. Last year he was as good as everyone else... even without the TTT.
As much as I dislike him, I recognise Lance is a contender for a podium spot, I never wrote him of before the Tour last year either and I wont this year either. You just never know.

Lance was better than Sastre & Evans last year but both had a bad Tour, its not like he beat them at the top of their game. It will be interesting to see how they go this year if they are even at the Tour, still in doubt for both.

Outside of AC, AS and the other Schleck, he was as good as the rest but not better. The time differences were minimal even with the benefit of the TTT.
So many questions for this year. Will Vandevelde be better this year with more preparation and not having anybody else to work for? How will Valverde perfrom? Liquigas if they send all their guys have more options than RadioShack but are they willing to sacrifice themselves for each other. If they were, then they could have a bigger role than to play than anybody else.

With the tougher route, it really will be interesting but I dont know if I will bother watching because I get so tired of all the BS around Lance. I just want a normal Tour where everybody is treated equally instead of the Lance show 24/7 whether he is Top 10/20 or whatever. Its just boring already.
 
Mar 18, 2009
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kurtinsc said:
YOu can read CN's coverage of it if you want confirmation.
No thanks, I prefer to believe the evidence of my own eyes rather than reading the overexcited witterings of someone with their lips glued firmly to Armstrong's orifice ;)

Since MV has stated the case perfectly there's really nothing more to add
 
Sep 2, 2009
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Publicus said:
I think that caveat (injury) applies to everyone. Lance may not have broken bones, but he may make tactical errors and certainly could lack the form. He's not immune from any of those shortcomings, nor is any other rider. So with that in mind, I don't see Lance as a top 5 climber in the mountains.
Just to clarify one thing. I didn't say top 5 climber in the mountains, I said top top 5 overall.

I can't disagree with you, Lance is of course not immune in any way, but I do think he handles the stress of a three week event better than most riders.
There are riders like F. Schleck who some times doesn't pay a whole lot of attention. Crazy things like wrestling with a raincoat on a very wet decent during 70-80 km/h. Lack of attention in general is a very fitting description I think.
And then there's riders like Armstrong who minimze all sorts of risks (not just during the race but also during preparation). I really think Armstrong is above average when it comes to steering free of obstacles.
During a three week event like the tour, this ability is rather crucial.

I do think that a rider like Menchov is more likely to have an off day, I do think a rider like F. Schleck is more likely to crash, I do think a rider like Armstrong is les exposed to commit tactical errors (like losing time on the cobbled stage 3). so my point is that Armstrong does belong in in the mix (only AC AS far above).

Another aspect people seem to forget, is that Lance now has one season under his belt. I have stated this before so I don't expect people to agree with me.
When it comes to TT I think there's room for improvement. I know they have removed the TTT, but if I were in FS's or AS's shoes I would be a little concerned regarding that 51 km TT (mostly FS of course).

Come july, all the questions will be answered. I didn't intent to write so much about Armstrong but I had to defend my point. the aspect of Liquigas is getting far too little attention.
I expect Kreuziger to take a step forward this summer, I was a bit disapointed last year, but somehow he managed to place ninth, although he seemed to be off pace at times.

To some up the riders battling for top 10

A. Contador
F. Schleck
A. Schleck
L. Leipheimer
L. Armstrong
A. Klöden
I. Basso
V. Nibali
R. Kreuziger
C. V. Velde
B. Wiggins
A. Valverde
M. Rasmussen
S. Sanchez
R. Gesink
D. Menchov
C. Evans
C. Sastre
L. L. Sanchez

Of course I'm not up to date with all the riders race programmes.
 
Bike Boy said:
Just to clarify one thing. I didn't say top 5 climber in the mountains, I said top top 5 overall.
I don't think he is top 5 overall either. But I think you raise a good point: he's going to be better against the clock, which has to worry the more pure climbers who are typically weaker against the clock (the Brothers Schleck, Basso, Sammy Sanchez). With that in mind I think you will see those riders look to break things up as much as possible in the mountains to try and build an insurmountable lead going into the final TT. Barring injury on the cobbles, I think the race will be won in the mountains.

Looking at Armstrong's proposed schedule to date, he's not doing a lot of racing in the mountains. Lots of one day races, with no really challenging stage races (i.e., Paris-Nice, Cataluyna, Tour of the Basque Country). I think that's going to hurt him going into the TdF (I don't know if there is a substitute for competing).
 
Sep 2, 2009
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Publicus said:
I don't think he is top 5 overall either. But I think you raise a good point: he's going to be better against the clock, which has to worry the more pure climbers who are typically weaker against the clock (the Brothers Schleck, Basso, Sammy Sanchez). With that in mind I think you will see those riders look to break things up as much as possible in the mountains to try and build an insurmountable lead going into the final TT. Barring injury on the cobbles, I think the race will be won in the mountains.

Looking at Armstrong's proposed schedule to date, he's not doing a lot of racing in the mountains. Lots of one day races, with no really challenging stage races (i.e., Paris-Nice, Cataluyna, Tour of the Basque Country). I think that's going to hurt him going into the TdF (I don't know if there is a substitute for competing).
Agreed. In the past you could say that Armstrong was the master of training, so he didn't need that much racing. But now with riders like Contador And A. Schleck huh..! I don't think he can get enough.
 
Bike Boy said:
Agreed. In the past you could say that Armstrong was the master of training, so he didn't need that much racing. But now with riders like Contador And A. Schleck huh..! I don't think he can get enough.
Funny enough there is a new video over at Yahoo UK Eurosport where he talks about wanting to be at a higher level sooner. Not sure how a series of one day races gives him that, but ok. I also thought it interesting that he thinks the course of the TdF favors him--though I think he is talking strictly about the first week (which may explain why he is spending so much of his race schedule at one day races). I would say outside of the first 3 stges, the paracourse doesn't suit him at all. Unless he's bringing a new suitcase of courage with him this year. :rolleyes:
 
Jun 18, 2009
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Bike Boy said:
Agreed. In the past you could say that Armstrong was the master of training, so he didn't need that much racing. But now with riders like Contador And A. Schleck huh..! I don't think he can get enough.
Almost all the top GC riders of the last fifteen years avoided competition when doing their most productive tour preparation. Don't see why he would change the recipe now.
 

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