Cadel's only hopes

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Jun 16, 2009
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Which Lance Armstrong are we talking about?

Are you talking about the guy who was very pale and haggard looking as he crossed the line in Andorra?

We saw that guy here in January and it's not the same guy that danced away from Ullrich over and over again. Armstrong's showed he's willing to turn himself inside out to stay in contention, but he's digging deep into his reserves while following the wheels of others who are looking a lot more comfortable. The only way he's going to win a mountain stage this is if he loses a lot of time and the current heads of state (sorry for the Liggettism) let him ride away in a break. And last time he raced le Tour he was definitely one of the top three time trialists in the world, now it's debatable that he's in the top ten.

Yeah I want someone else to win, but I'm old enough join a veterans racing club so I'd take great solace in a win by Armstrong. I just think he's in good form, where he needed to be in exceptional form if he wants to take any prizes this year.
 
Jun 18, 2009
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Ninety5rpm said:
LA lost 1:42 to Sastre on that beast, but, again, he is now stronger and lighter. Much stronger and lighter than most expected.

Yeah.... but Sastre's a joke, right? :D

LA is definitely better now than he was in the Giro, but the competition in this race is different from that in the Giro also. I am not sure you can read too much into a comparison between 2 riders on a different stage 2 months ago....
 
ridley said:
Excellent tactical move and plan outlined here, Alpe. BUT I don't think it will fly even if it is taken up by the media and escalated to say that Cadel is DONE - I think the main rivals and contenders will never give him the ability and leeway to get away and try to make up even one minute deficit.
Ninety5rpm said:
Cadel might be at his strongest form of his life, but he cannot attack and escape the likes of AC, LA, baby, or Sastre.
But what are his choices? Sit along and just hope that several of the riders ahead of him wilt so badly they lose three plus minutes? His other choice is to give up and accept defeat. These seem to be the two strategies most riders take these days, if I may be so critical.

Hinault is right. His only chance, even if it's a slim one, is to attack. He must attack when they are not likely to chase. Or he must repeatedly attack (like Hinault) and try to scatter the other GC riders, over and over until someone wilts. Then do it again the next chance. And the next. Eventually people will cave due to attrition, as you say, yes. And odds are he's one of them. But higher odds say if he continues to just follow wheels and never attack, he's guaranteed to lose.

I was equally critical of Leipheimer during the Giro. Especially after he lost time in the ITT at Cinque Terra. He said afterwards that he had no interest in finishing 2nd or 3rd. It was win, or accept dropping out of the top 10. He never attacked one time after that. Not once. He basically followed Menchov and DiLuca as far as he could on each day, and in the end, it was he who continually lost more and more time. I'm not saying Levi is a quitter, I like the guy for the most part, but to say it's win or else, and then to never attack in several days, showed either poor, or no strategy. And in the end Levi, nor Astana, won a thing in the Giro. So hopefully Cadel, Sastre, the Schlecks, or others who are now more than about a minute back are going to have to attack, they are going to have to find the time and the place to do it, and if it fails, they have to try again.

Does anyone really, truly believe that by simply following Astana and never attacking is going to take Evans or anyone else to the maillot jaune?
 
Jul 13, 2009
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ericthesportsman6 said:
I really don't think Cadel even has a chance. Obviously, he won't be outclimbing any of the leaders, and he isn't a stronger TTer than Armstrong Leipheimer or Contador. Not to mention he's already three minutes back. His little attempt to impersonate Floyd Landis showed he's just not a smart enough rider to win this Tour, or even make the podium.

I think that ericthesportsman is correct in saying that Cadel is just not as tactically smart as some of the other favorites, ie LA. Look, I like Cadel. He has been riding much more aggressively this year and showed quite a bit of fight in the Dauphine. Seeing how he has changed from last years tour, I cannot help but think that he is loosing this race because he just does not have the tactical wits.
 
I hate to sound smarmy here, but he doesn't really need it. Marc Sergeant does. With race radio Sergeant can tell Cadel excatly when to attack, and give him near constant up to the second info on other riders, and the gaps.
 
Some one may have already said this but I think baby schleck will attack more effectively than Evans. Contador will follow and the other contenders Sastre, Armstrong, Evans will drag themselves back up each time. IMHO the race could be decided if Contador can break the elastic in one of these attempts to get away. Schleck may well just wear himself out trying to assert himself on the race.

Contador (and Schleck) seems good at an initial acceleration but seem to stick after about 30-60s. I am interested to see if he can sustain an attack in the way Sastre did and or Armstrong has in the past. If he can't it's going to come down to the ITT. I still think Contador is favourite in this too.

And then we still have Ventoux - which may be a non-event if Contador has a decent lead from ITT or previous mountain top. I don't think Lance will attack his team mate and no one has the ability can ride away from Contador - he was so comfortable on Ventoux in the Dauphine pushing his mate Valverde to the top.

It's Contador's to lose with still some big question marks of Lance's form. Evans will do well to get a look at the Podium.
 
Jul 13, 2009
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Alpe d'Huez said:
I hate to sound smarmy here, but he doesn't really need it. Marc Sergeant does. With race radio Sergeant can tell Cadel excatly when to attack, and give him near constant up to the second info on other riders, and the gaps.

So those bone-head moves earlier in the tour were Sargeant's calls? I hope not.
 
Alpe d'Huez said:
But what are his choices? Sit along and just hope that several of the riders ahead of him wilt so badly they lose three plus minutes? His other choice is to give up and accept defeat. These seem to be the two strategies most riders take these days, if I may be so critical.

Hinault is right. His only chance, even if it's a slim one, is to attack. He must attack when they are not likely to chase. Or he must repeatedly attack (like Hinault) and try to scatter the other GC riders, over and over until someone wilts. Then do it again the next chance. And the next. Eventually people will cave due to attrition, as you say, yes. And odds are he's one of them. But higher odds say if he continues to just follow wheels and never attack, he's guaranteed to lose.

I was equally critical of Leipheimer during the Giro. Especially after he lost time in the ITT at Cinque Terra. He said afterwards that he had no interest in finishing 2nd or 3rd. It was win, or accept dropping out of the top 10. He never attacked one time after that. Not once. He basically followed Menchov and DiLuca as far as he could on each day, and in the end, it was he who continually lost more and more time. I'm not saying Levi is a quitter, I like the guy for the most part, but to say it's win or else, and then to never attack in several days, showed either poor, or no strategy. And in the end Levi, nor Astana, won a thing in the Giro. So hopefully Cadel, Sastre, the Schlecks, or others who are now more than about a minute back are going to have to attack, they are going to have to find the time and the place to do it, and if it fails, they have to try again.

Does anyone really, truly believe that by simply following Astana and never attacking is going to take Evans or anyone else to the maillot jaune?
What are his choices? Well, if he doesn't have the gas in the tank, and I believe he does not, then attacking, much less multiple attacking, is not one of his choices.
 
Jul 8, 2009
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Ninety5rpm said:
I think we can agree that Lance is lighter and stronger than he was at the giro.
Now look at how he did on the last climb of the giro.

http://autobus.cyclingnews.com/road/2009//giro09/?id=results/giro0919

profile19.gif


LA lost 1:42 to Sastre on that beast, but, again, he is now stronger and lighter. Much stronger and lighter than most expected.

He wasn't dropped in the Pyrenees, except maybe by Contador (reasonable people can disagree on whether he was dropped, or decided not to chase - I have no idea). I see no reason to believe he will be dropped in the Alps by anyone except maybe AC, and every reason to believe he will be doing the dropping.
...and Sastre turned himself inside out on Vesuvio with that effort, the type of effort one can make only once in a grand tour...

"It wasn't like L'Alpe d'Huez last year [in the Tour de France]," Sastre said, "where every kilometre, I was making time on the others. Today, I felt the other [rivals] were stronger. I was suffering all the time uphill."


...if he's saving himself for Mont Ventoux i'm not sure it will have the effect that L'alpe D'Huez had last year for him...Verbier won't be long enough to risk redlining with Le Grand Bornand, Annecy and then Mont Ventoux on tap...whatever aspirations Sastre has for the tour lies on Ventoux...

...incidentally, Vesuvio was Armstrong's best performance uphill, just 27 watts off Sastre when corrected for 78kilo rider/bike combination[458 - 431]...and that was over six weeks ago at the end of the Giro...Armstrong's average for the entire Giro would've been higher if not for waiting for Leipheimer on Petrano, where he only averaged 385watts corrected...on the whole, he averaged 28 watts less than Menchov, which is a very high level in itself, let alone for someone out of the peloton for over three years...
 
"Watts the difference between light bulbs"

An old physics teacher joke (me being an old physics teacher) - none of the kids ever found it funny either :rolleyes:

...and watts the difference between cyclists now it seems too! :)
 
vrusimov said:
...and Sastre turned himself inside out on Vesuvio with that effort, the type of effort one can make only once in a grand tour...

"It wasn't like L'Alpe d'Huez last year [in the Tour de France]," Sastre said, "where every kilometre, I was making time on the others. Today, I felt the other [rivals] were stronger. I was suffering all the time uphill."


...if he's saving himself for Mont Ventoux i'm not sure it will have the effect that L'alpe D'Huez had last year for him...Verbier won't be long enough to risk redlining with Le Grand Bornand, Annecy and then Mont Ventoux on tap...whatever aspirations Sastre has for the tour lies on Ventoux...

...incidentally, Vesuvio was Armstrong's best performance uphill, just 27 watts off Sastre when corrected for 78kilo rider/bike combination[458 - 431]...and that was over six weeks ago at the end of the Giro...Armstrong's average for the entire Giro would've been higher if not for waiting for Leipheimer on Petrano, where he only averaged 385watts corrected...on the whole, he averaged 28 watts less than Menchov, which is a very high level in itself, let alone for someone out of the peloton for over three years...
Where are you getting these watt numbers?
 

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Jun 23, 2009
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BikeCentric said:
You're right, Cadel's only hope is to attack, attack, and attack some more. And hammer the ITT even harder than he did the first time. It really sucks to see him screwed so badly after that TTT (especially after such a great prologue), I've never been an Evans fan but I like to see good, tight racing. On the other hand, it was very very impressive to see Cadel attacking the main group of favorites on the final climb on Friday. Shows he's not willing to lay down and die and it's always good to see someone fight to the end, even if it may be hopeless. And in terms of my official predictions, I do think he's hopelessly screwed because he's got no chance of taking back that time on Contador. I do think he can drop Armstrong on the hills though, we shall see.

No, his only hope is that Astana have a team pile up and all have to pull out, The Schlecks both pull out with tendonitis, Wiggins turns up hungover and Carlos decides to spend an hour having a siesta on Ventoux.

Even then he may get pipped by Tony Martin
 
Jul 8, 2009
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Alpe d'Huez said:
There's not enough variation on the Ventoux, and as we're likely to see wind, we'll also likely see Astana try to control the climb, as it's quite possible they'll have four of the top five positions at that time.

If I were Cadel, here's what I would do. But he's going to have to plan it. First, look at some profiles: First, Let's look at Stage 16:

PROFIL.gif


Two huge climbs over the Grand then Petite St. Bernard climbs. If I were Cadel, I'd fake an early attack on the first climb, knowing I'd be caught. I'd then take it easy on that stage as much as possible, and purposefully drop back a few seconds on the second climb, and roll into the finish in Bourg-Saint Maurice looking exhausted, and a little back. Say, losing another 4-5 seconds. I might even go to the media and give interviews saying that you spent yourself on the first climb and have never been so tired in your life. But are not going to quit, and will attack again if you can, all the way to Paris.

Both the actions, and the words is to set-up the impression that you're still going to try to attack, but you are done, and don't have it.

Then, I'd get a good night's sleep, knowing I have a great plan in store for the next day. Here's stage 17:

PROFIL.gif


This stage is the final mountain stage before the ITT in Annecy, so riders are not going to want to waste themselves. We're likely to see an Astana train leading as long as possible here, with fliers from little knowns going off.

If I were Cadel, I'd ride in the mid-front of the group all day until they hit the Col du Romme, which is probably the toughest climb of the day. I'd attack here, about half-way up, as it's probably his best chance to get away. Someone may be ahead of him, or someone else may attack further down, either way, he has to time it right, and go. Others will probably think it's too far out, that he's too far back, and that after he attacked and wilted the day before, he'll wilt here too. And who's going to want to risk wearing themselves out at this point chasing, when the ITT is tomorrow? This would leave Cadel with about 15km of tough climbing where he'd have to ride his guts out, before the descent into Le Grand-Bornand.

He's not going to make up enough time on the ITT, and likely not on the Ventoux. But if he does it here, he could put himself into serious contention, or even the lead. He may lose time on the ITT, but it's his strength, and he should be able to contain that.

Comments anyone? Happy to hear other suggestions.
...as good a plan as any though it will burn a lot of matches when there will be precious few left after a trek over several steep passes...no more rest days after the uphill at Verbier so he will have to pay for this effort somewhere between Annecy and the slopes of Mont Ventoux...and the descent down the Colombiere is a bit technical but it is FAST!...looks like about 15km/9 miles, which won't take long to cover at downhill speeds...10 - 15 minutes maybe?...whoever gets over with a gap could maintain and it would take a Cancellarish descent to make the time back by the finish...i would forget stage 16 and try here on the Romme...

...as such, this is the queen stage and some riders could crack spectacularly on this one with all but the first of five ascents in the 6 - 9% range...and the following day is Annecy...whew!
 
Alpe d'Huez said:
If he doesn't have the gas in the tank to attack from 50+km out, then what should he do?
Go for the lantern rouge on Friday, losing like 20 minutes, and then go for KOM or a stage win from an allowed break.

I mean, he might be able to get Top 5, but after two second places, who cares?
 
Mar 12, 2009
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croix_de_fer said:
I think that ericthesportsman is correct in saying that Cadel is just not as tactically smart as some of the other favorites, ie LA. Look, I like Cadel. He has been riding much more aggressively this year and showed quite a bit of fight in the Dauphine. Seeing how he has changed from last years tour, I cannot help but think that he is loosing this race because he just does not have the tactical wits.

yes, thats it. Nothing to do with a diabolical TTT result and the overwhelming dominance of Astana.......he's just not smart enough :p
 
I mean, he might be able to get Top 5, but after two second places, who cares?
Precisely. Which is why I say he has to attack. Better finish a half hour back after giving it your best shot, than finishing 5th.

Good analysis, Vrusimov. As I said, he has four choices as I see it:

1. Do a carefully planned attack like this. Roll the dice, and hope it works.

2. Repeatedly attack at every reasonable chance to split the GC riders (obviously not so much on the flats), hoping to wear everyone out and catch the right break. It will wear him out too, but he'll have to hope he can recover better than others and gets lucky. Even if he loses, he'll be remembered.

3. Do nothing. Follow Astana's wheels, and hope that several riders ahead of him crack and he somehow gains 3+ minutes back.

4. Give up and accept defeat, go home and tell your fans he did his best, but needs a better team, etc.
 
Alpe d'Huez said:
Precisely. Which is why I say he has to attack. Better finish a half hour back after giving it your best shot, than finishing 5th.
[...]

Unfortunately, not many riders seem to race that way these days. Hopefuly Evans will prove an exception. (Or Sastre or Schleck or etc.)
 
Alpe d'Huez said:
I hate to sound smarmy here, but he doesn't really need it. Marc Sergeant does. With race radio Sergeant can tell Cadel excatly when to attack, and give him near constant up to the second info on other riders, and the gaps.

Exactly. Maybe Sergeant's expertise is in the one day races, at least for Silence-Lotto's sake we hope so because if it is he that is strategizing the moves that Evans is making then it really wouldn't matter who he had to support Evans.

I think its a combination of the two that are making these decisions. Evans prompted Van Den Broeck to liven things up on Arcalis and that prompted Contador to drop everyone and gain 20 seconds!

I agree with Hinault's assessment that the contenders outside of Astana must attack relentlessly hoping to find a flaw in their armour. Astana's weakness is that they have 3 riders that have announced their ambitions for Tour glory and that is not an asset if your opponents are willing to take chances and attack. There will be hesitation in Astana after the 2nd or 3rd attack. Who should respond? Kloden will do his duty because he's accepted his role. Leipheimer is talking a good game saying that he'll support whoever is strongest between Armstrong and Contador but his lack of face time at the front in comparison to Kloden AND his lack of visibility when the attacks on Arcalis were taking place (he didn't respond, he just sat in) tells me either he was saving himself for later in the race or he simply didn't have the legs to respond. I think its the former.

Bruyneel's mistake is not defining everyone's roles. When Contador showed his form in the ITT, Bruyneel should have let it be known that Contador was their protected rider. Armstrong could have played the Vuelta/Leipheimer role as the plan B should Contador stumble BUT with the understanding that Contador was plan A. Armstrong's leapfrogging Contador in the standings as he did should not have altered this initial plan one bit. Had this been done Contador's attack on Arcalis wouldn't have been an issue not that it should have been an issue as it was.
 
Mar 18, 2009
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Angliru said:
Exactly. Maybe Sergeant's expertise is in the one day races, at least for Silence-Lotto's sake we hope so because if it is he that is strategizing the moves that Evans is making then it really wouldn't matter who he had to support Evans.

I think its a combination of the two that are making these decisions. Evans prompted Van Den Broeck to liven things up on Arcalis and that prompted Contador to drop everyone and gain 20 seconds!

I agree with Hinault's assessment that the contenders outside of Astana must attack relentlessly hoping to find a flaw in their armour. Astana's weakness is that they have 3 riders that have announced their ambitions for Tour glory and that is not an asset if your opponents are willing to take chances and attack. There will be hesitation in Astana after the 2nd or 3rd attack. Who should respond? Kloden will do his duty because he's accepted his role. Leipheimer is talking a good game saying that he'll support whoever is strongest between Armstrong and Contador but his lack of face time at the front in comparison to Kloden AND his lack of visibility when the attacks on Arcalis were taking place (he didn't respond, he just sat in) tells me either he was saving himself for later in the race or he simply didn't have the legs to respond. I think its the former.

Bruyneel's mistake is not defining everyone's roles. When Contador showed his form in the ITT, Bruyneel should have let it be known that Contador was their protected rider. Armstrong could have played the Vuelta/Leipheimer role as the plan B should Contador stumble BUT with the understanding that Contador was plan A. Armstrong's leapfrogging Contador in the standings as he did should not have altered this initial plan one bit. Had this been done Contador's attack on Arcalis wouldn't have been an issue not that it should have been an issue as it was.

+1. Good summary.
 
Mar 19, 2009
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Angliru said:
Exactly. Maybe Sergeant's expertise is in the one day races, at least for Silence-Lotto's sake we hope so because if it is he that is strategizing the moves that Evans is making then it really wouldn't matter who he had to support Evans.

I think its a combination of the two that are making these decisions. Evans prompted Van Den Broeck to liven things up on Arcalis and that prompted Contador to drop everyone and gain 20 seconds!

I agree with Hinault's assessment that the contenders outside of Astana must attack relentlessly hoping to find a flaw in their armour. Astana's weakness is that they have 3 riders that have announced their ambitions for Tour glory and that is not an asset if your opponents are willing to take chances and attack. There will be hesitation in Astana after the 2nd or 3rd attack. Who should respond? Kloden will do his duty because he's accepted his role. Leipheimer is talking a good game saying that he'll support whoever is strongest between Armstrong and Contador but his lack of face time at the front in comparison to Kloden AND his lack of visibility when the attacks on Arcalis were taking place (he didn't respond, he just sat in) tells me either he was saving himself for later in the race or he simply didn't have the legs to respond. I think its the former.

Bruyneel's mistake is not defining everyone's roles. When Contador showed his form in the ITT, Bruyneel should have let it be known that Contador was their protected rider. Armstrong could have played the Vuelta/Leipheimer role as the plan B should Contador stumble BUT with the understanding that Contador was plan A. Armstrong's leapfrogging Contador in the standings as he did should not have altered this initial plan one bit. Had this been done Contador's attack on Arcalis wouldn't have been an issue not that it should have been an issue as it was.

+2 on the summary. I think Levi is saying himself for the Alps to be able to defend the attacks of Astanas rivals. There is no good in both him and Klodi wasting energy in the first week
 
Jul 13, 2009
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Angliru said:
Exactly. Maybe Sergeant's expertise is in the one day races, at least for Silence-Lotto's sake we hope so because if it is he that is strategizing the moves that Evans is making then it really wouldn't matter who he had to support Evans.

I think its a combination of the two that are making these decisions. Evans prompted Van Den Broeck to liven things up on Arcalis and that prompted Contador to drop everyone and gain 20 seconds!

I agree with Hinault's assessment that the contenders outside of Astana must attack relentlessly hoping to find a flaw in their armour. Astana's weakness is that they have 3 riders that have announced their ambitions for Tour glory and that is not an asset if your opponents are willing to take chances and attack. There will be hesitation in Astana after the 2nd or 3rd attack. Who should respond? Kloden will do his duty because he's accepted his role. Leipheimer is talking a good game saying that he'll support whoever is strongest between Armstrong and Contador but his lack of face time at the front in comparison to Kloden AND his lack of visibility when the attacks on Arcalis were taking place (he didn't respond, he just sat in) tells me either he was saving himself for later in the race or he simply didn't have the legs to respond. I think its the former.

Bruyneel's mistake is not defining everyone's roles. When Contador showed his form in the ITT, Bruyneel should have let it be known that Contador was their protected rider. Armstrong could have played the Vuelta/Leipheimer role as the plan B should Contador stumble BUT with the understanding that Contador was plan A. Armstrong's leapfrogging Contador in the standings as he did should not have altered this initial plan one bit. Had this been done Contador's attack on Arcalis wouldn't have been an issue not that it should have been an issue as it was.

+3 Very good summary. Thank you. Like the picture of Miles as well. :D