Complains from Noval: Contador with no help

May 8, 2009
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Some newspapers in Spain write about how bad Contador feels about the non-selection of Noval as his "bodyguard". They are very close friends, visited the Alps and Pyrinees together recently. Noval feels "broken down", and "depressed about that decission", which he does not understand since he is in good shape and prepared exclusively for the Tour. He considers that Astana is not showing any trust in Contador with that decission, that AC is being bullied.

According to the newspaper SPORT Armstrong and Bruyneel were strongly discussing about Horner, since Bruyneel considered his selection would make a polarized team around Armstrong. Noval would be an excuse for Armstrong to better accept the exclusion of Horner.

I don´t know what to think, but I surely don´t understand why Noval is not in the Tour.

http://www.sport.es/default.asp?idpublicacio_PK=44&idioma=CAS&idnoticia_PK=624328&idseccio_PK=1268
 
Makes No Sense.

If Contador is the team leader, then select the best guys for the job. I would have taken Horner AND Noval. Rast has never done the Tour. You can't split the baby without killing it. Hopefully Astana has the talent to overcome JB's unwillingness to fully commit to Contador.

I just don't want to see the team committing resources to Lance the first time he gets dropped on a climb. I'll lose all respect for JB if he allows that.
 
May 13, 2009
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AC is Astana's best shot at winning the tour. Just for that reason alone, AC should be able to pick his domestiques. If he feels most comfortable with Paulinho and Noval, then those should be on the team.

The point that he got only one of his choices indicates that the team is split. Actions speak louder than words, and if Noval was left out to appease another team member whose favorite rider (Horner) was left out, then the fact is, the team is split.

Yes, LA played the role of domestique for LL in the Giro in a few instances. But if you look at it closer, he drained Astana's resources by needing to be towed in the first week. Once LL failed to take the lead in the TT, Astana riders were going for stage wins including LA. I don't know why, but certainly during the third week of the Giro, Astana was not a team united behind LL. Maybe LL's bag clotted which required a change of tactics, who knows?

Anyway, one could say that Astana has 4 GC men (LA, LL, AC and Kloden). Riders which would be considered on most other teams legitimate shots for a podium if not for an outright win. We know that LL and Kloden have played the role of domestiques before. So I have little doubt they will be anything else but loyal domestiques unless we see some extraordinary circumstances (crashes for instance).

Which of course leaves the 800 pond gorilla in the room.

IMHO it's a perfectly legitimate question to ask what will happen with AC and LA. I think the fight concerning the inclusion of Noval and Horner plus the following public statements of AC etc. are an interesting early indication of the split in team Astana. We'll see how this plays out on the road.
 
Mar 19, 2009
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Publicus said:
If Contador is the team leader, then select the best guys for the job. I would have taken Horner AND Noval. Rast has never done the Tour. You can't split the baby without killing it. Hopefully Astana has the talent to overcome JB's unwillingness to fully commit to Contador.

I just don't want to see the team committing resources to Lance the first time he gets dropped on a climb. I'll lose all respect for JB if he allows that.
I think its obvious their not commited to Contra. But maybe he's as strong who knows. We'll see. :)
 
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issoisso said:
That would explain the WTF inclusion of Rast
Rast has done well as a sprinter lately. Maybe they think they need the help protecting the GC contenders on sprint stages more than help in the mountains.

I'm sad that Horner is not there but they have a wealth of climbers.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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While I cannot understand the exclusion of Chris Horner from the Tour roster - I can completely understand the exclusion of Benjamin Noval. Noval is an accident magnet. Further, he generally has days of sickness and not being 100% during the Tour. He always seemed "fragile" and "vulnerable" to me while riding the Tour.

Even though Noval has provided emotional support for Contador (in 2007), in general, I have always felt Noval to be the weakest link in the majority of Tours he has started.

I am a bit surprised about Rast. Still figuring out what he brings to the table for this particular race. He has been Swiss National Road Champion thrice (2006, 2004 & 2002 - U23). He also does well in the Tour of Luxembourg. But, Rast over Horner? I am not getting that.

I really think this team is going to miss Horner in the mountains.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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jackhammer111 said:
Rast has done well as a sprinter lately. Maybe they think they need the help protecting the GC contenders on sprint stages more than help in the mountains.

I'm sad that Horner is not there but they have a wealth of climbers.
wtf are you talking about? since when have gc contenders needed protecting on sprint stages? there are no sprinters who are gc contenders. all of the gc contenders will finish in the bunch out of trouble, not contesting sprints.

your post makes no sense. if, on the other hand, Rast is in the team as a rouleur, per Hog's usual Tour tactics, then his inclusion does make sense.
 
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LugHugger said:
wtf are you talking about? since when have gc contenders needed protecting on sprint stages? there are no sprinters who are gc contenders. all of the gc contenders will finish in the bunch out of trouble, not contesting sprints.

your post makes no sense. if, on the other hand, Rast is in the team as a rouleur, per Hog's usual Tour tactics, then his inclusion does make sense.
gc'ers finish in the bunch but are generally near the front on the run ins. The middle or rear is no place to be in the final ks. A good sprinter helps greatly with that. Hincape played that role for years.
 
Apr 20, 2009
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Horner has had a tough year with some damned hard crashes. It was obvious at Nevada City that he was not on form despite a great result. He needs the recovery time, although I am sure he would ride hard in support at the TDF.

There are a lot of factors that go into picking the Tour line up, but the ultimate goal is to win the thing. It doesn't all have to be political intrigue. With eight TDF's, Giro and Vuelta wins behind him, I think that Bruyneel knows pretty well how to build a Grand Tour line up that works.
 
Apr 11, 2009
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Some good points made here.

Is Astana checkmating itself (loss of both Noval and Horner, when either alone, or both together, would have helped)? The compromise is mediocrity, eg. Rast, Muravyev?

Wasn't Bruyneel's past success due to total unity of the team behind one leader? Looks like they're now paying for it's absence by diluting things. :D
 
“Por el bien del grupo no te llevo”. (for the common benefit of the team, I won't pick you)

“Quiero un equipo más internacional”(I want a more International team)

Bruyneel: who the F*ck you thing you're trying to fool with that load of sh*t?

just say my master LA was upset for not picking Horner & therefore he needed to f*ck AC up by pulling out his most trusted teammate along...
 
May 13, 2009
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Parrot23 said:
Some good points made here.

Is Astana checkmating itself (loss of both Noval and Horner, when either alone, or both together, would have helped)? The compromise is mediocrity, eg. Rast, Muravyev?

Wasn't Bruyneel's past success due to total unity of the team behind one leader? Looks like they're now paying for it's absence by diluting things. :D
Precisely, and therefore I think VeloFidelis' comment is off the mark. Bruyneel knows how to pick a team around a single leader. He has little experience with a split team. So he compromises between AC and LA, which, in the end, might cost Astana the overall (not that it will give me sleepless nights).
 
May 12, 2009
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I don't know that the presence or absence of Noval makes a whole lot of difference. Having one guy for Contador if everyone else is doing their own thing or riding for Lance isn't going to make much difference for Contador.

And I think Brunyeel wants to win more than anything else. So, if there is a clear strongest rider, my guess is that pretty much everyone will end up supporting that person. And I think it's likely that one way or another, by the middle of the Tour, we'll know. Either LA or AC will have shown themselves to be stronger, or something will have happened (crash, mechanical, whatever) that will have decided it.
I think it's somewhat unlikely, but it will be interesting to see if we get 2/3 of the way through, and there is little difference between LA and AC, exactly what will play out. If it really does get to that point though, Noval wouldn't make much difference.
 
Apr 11, 2009
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I was thinking more in terms of the psych. of Noval being there for AC (re Lance's comments, true or not, after Paris Nice about him being "excitable", nervous).

If Noval is not much better than Rast or Murayev, fine, but the psych. factor makes a difference for AC. So net plus if he were there vs. the other two maybe.

Maybe Bruyneel had no "choice", but to mollify Lance. Hence, mediocrity > unity here in these choices.
 
May 8, 2009
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I don´t think Noval makes any difference....and he makes all the "mental game" difference. If Bruyneel wanted AC to trust in his management and wisedom to make the best for the team, supporting the one with more options, I think he has f**** it up.

If I would be Contador I would be right now phoning all kind of potential supports in key stages to gain their favour, and I would have a good plan to stand against the pressure after dissobeying dubious orders in the middle of the race.

I don´t know if that is going to happen because maybe Bruyneel sees beyond the narrow Armnostrong come back. Wouldn´t it be nice for himto win 3-5 tours more with AC once Armnostrong retires and runs for governor or something??? But anyway I would be ready for the worst.
 
May 13, 2009
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I knew Noval and Contador were going to be upset, but honestly I've never been extremely impressed with Noval. He once was a great helper on the climbs but I don't think he brings much to the team besides emotional support for Contador.

Contador wanted both Paulinho and Noval. If you had to choose one, I know I would have chosen Paulinho. The Kaz was chosen by the sponsor. That leaves Rast. Hes the wildcard.

Yes in the mountains Noval 0or Horner would have been better. But seriously the team didn't need another lieutenent. Brunyneel couldn't choose Horner because that would be seen as biasing the team toward Armstrong. In twitter Lance said he argued for Horner, but he isn't the team leader and couldn't make that happen.

The only thing I can figure is Rast is a good all-rounder with a good kick who can make the bottle runs when the peloton is running flat out. He's also probably the most neutral person Brunyeel could have brought on. Those Swiss know how to stay out of conflicts.
 
Splitting the Baby

linenoiz said:
The only thing I can figure is Rast is a good all-rounder with a good kick who can make the bottle runs when the peloton is running flat out. He's also probably the most neutral person Brunyeel could have brought on. Those Swiss know how to stay out of conflicts.
I think at the end of the day, it is as simple as that--it shows some split loyalty on the part of JB despite his words to the contrary. I noticed JB is in Spain at the Time Trial Championships. My guess is he is trying to smooth waters a bit.

As a fan of both Lance and Contador, I'll take whoever is the strongest rider. That being said, I think Lance was a selfish pr*ck to come back to this team and upset its chemistry. Just an all around d**k move. But it is what it is and Contador needs to demonstrate that he is the man.
 
Jun 26, 2009
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Only a fool would count out Armstrong.

The doubters and naysayers are strewn all over the TDF wake in the 7 years Armstrong won. How many "experts" predicted his demise or lack of ability to win during those 7 years???

This recent and objective assessment of Armstrong's preparedness and substantial improvement post Giro requires Bruyneel to hedge his bets on Contador.

http://www.bicycling.com/tourdefrance/article/0,6802,s1-7-403-19710-1,00.html

Specifically Armstrong's lactic acid threshold is 3-4% higher than it was at the outset of the Giro. (See embedded video in above link).

Armstrong is also 9 pounds lighter than at the Giro. The the dominating win at a tough criterium in Nevada City, Armstrong shows he has his explosive break away ability back. He seems to be peaking at the right time. Make no mistake Contador is awesome and may indeed be the best. But, in light of 7 wins and substantial improvement since the Giro, Bruyneel would be a fool to simply relegate Armstrong to a support role and put all of his cards on Contador who still makes rookie mistakes which could kill you in the TDF (ala Paris-Nice "bonk" on the climb).

The stage one TT and the mountain stages in at stages 7 and 8 will give Contador a clear chance to "prove" (there's an idea) that he is better than Armstrong. This will leave plenty of TDF for Contador with the support of a strong team to prevail. If Contador doesn't "prove" it and Armstrong is near the top of the GC. Alberto better learn what Armstrong clearly learned in the Giro, at times even a champion gets to carry water bottles.
 
Jun 21, 2009
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byu123 said:
Armstrong is also 9 pounds lighter than at the Giro.
wtf. can this be confirmed somewhere? that's a lot of weight to be lost at the same time as he has been training hard. When losing weight at the same time as you're training as hard as i believe he has, you'll end up injuring yourself coz your body can't repair (recover) itself quick enough if you don't fill up 100%

not to mention how tired and weak you feel if you lose that amount of weight in that space of time
 
Jun 19, 2009
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Splitting the Baby

Several of you have hit it on the head. Bruyneel has options and better to have two publicity lightning rods than one considering the pressure applied on the riders. Too many people crash in the first week to proceed otherwise. This is also a business and the more press the better for a team that requires long term financing. Bruyneel may emerge as the genius in the end and Armstrong would extract a "dignified" exit from the support ala' Hinault. Both guys were egomaniacs that manipulated their systems and still got beat by a smarter director.
 
Jun 26, 2009
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workingclasshero said:
wtf. can this be confirmed somewhere? that's a lot of weight to be lost at the same time as he has been training hard. When losing weight at the same time as you're training as hard as i believe he has, you'll end up injuring yourself coz your body can't repair (recover) itself quick enough if you don't fill up 100%

not to mention how tired and weak you feel if you lose that amount of weight in that space of time
Its right here . . .

http://recovoxnews.blogspot.com/2009/06/lance-armstrong-claims-solo-nevada.html

"Armstrong looked the part of the winner, with hardly any fat showing on his body. He said he will start the Tour de France two kilograms less than the Giro d'Italia."

Notice how much this info is NOT published widely. I think that is part of Armstrong's plan, as it has always been, . . . "sandbag the competition" and make them think you are weak when you know you are strong.

The lactic acid threshold improvement is buried in a video quote, not put out my Armstrong, but by an assistant to his coach reading a meter during testing. The two kilos lighter comment slipped out to a small town reporter at the end of Armstrong's win in the Nevada City classic. Armstrong has been absolutely killing it with training at 8000 to 12000 feet in Aspen. What is also very interesting is that he and Leipheimer did a TT as part of a small local race there (Carbondale). The TT there was the same distance as the opening TT in Monaco. Armstrong beat Leipheimer by 45 seconds in that TT. Both were hitting it hard testing out their new TT bikes for the Tour. Recall Leipheimer beat Contador by 18 seconds in their one head to head TT race in Castilla/Leon.

Armstrong is doing what he has always done . . . train like hell . . . inflict massive amounts of pain at high altitude, and do it all with a very scientific and designed approach to peak for the TDF. He may be too old, Contador may win, but if ANYONE can win the TDF for an 8th time at 38yrs while beating the 3 previous TDF winners . . . it is Lance Armstrong. Come what may, this years TDF will be very interesting to watch . . .
 
byu123 said:
Its right here . . .

http://recovoxnews.blogspot.com/2009/06/lance-armstrong-claims-solo-nevada.html

"Armstrong looked the part of the winner, with hardly any fat showing on his body. He said he will start the Tour de France two kilograms less than the Giro d'Italia."

Notice how much this info is NOT published widely. I think that is part of Armstrong's plan, as it has always been, . . . "sandbag the competition" and make them think you are weak when you know you are strong.

The lactic acid threshold improvement is buried in a video quote, not put out my Armstrong, but by an assistant to his coach reading a meter during testing. The two kilos lighter comment slipped out to a small town reporter at the end of Armstrong's win in the Nevada City classic. Armstrong has been absolutely killing it with training at 8000 to 12000 feet in Aspen. What is also very interesting is that he and Leipheimer did a TT as part of a small local race there (Carbondale). The TT there was the same distance as the opening TT in Monaco. Armstrong beat Leipheimer by 45 seconds in that TT. Both were hitting it hard testing out their new TT bikes for the Tour. Recall Leipheimer beat Contador by 18 seconds in their one head to head TT race in Castilla/Leon.

Armstrong is doing what he has always done . . . train like hell . . . inflict massive amounts of pain at high altitude, and do it all with a very scientific and designed approach to peak for the TDF. He may be too old, Contador may win, but if ANYONE can win the TDF for an 8th time at 38yrs while beating the 3 previous TDF winners . . . it is Lance Armstrong. Come what may, this years TDF will be very interesting to watch . . .
Are you Armstrong's--excuse me, Lance's--spokesman or stalker?
 

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