Origins of US Postal's leader choice

this may have been covered before, so remove if you wish, but it's something that I've wondered for a while, and yet no book on the whole US Postal/LA story seems to mention it **

Weisel(sp?) bankrolled and began US Postal in the late 90's, right? Before 1998/99...

So, why when you have riders, who're fully fit and seasoned competitors, would you say "okay, we have a guy who wasn't all that great at grand tours, hasn't ridden & raced for a couple of years due to cancer, but now he's making a comback, so lets make him our team's leader"...

how exactly did LA become their team leader with f*ckall credentials for GTs?


** for reference, there may be a book I've missed that covers this, but I've read:
It's not about...
Lance Armstrong's War
From Lance to Landis
Bad Blood
The Secret Race
Seven Deadly Sins
and recall nothing in any of them about how he became the leader.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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Ferminal said:
After the 1998 Vuelta Ferrari/Bruyneel/Lance knew what was possible with the right preparation.
Anyone who watched this race saw the whole thing begin there. Most of us who had watched Lance race in a GT before knew what was going on, it was so over the top considering how he raced before.

Man some people need to read up or watch those past races in his career to visualize it.
 
ElChingon said:
Anyone who watched this race saw the whole thing begin there. Most of us who had watched Lance race in a GT before knew what was going on, it was so over the top considering how he raced before.

Man some people need to read up or watch those past races in his career to visualize it.
That's pretty much it. Bruyneel saw how well Lance rode in the 98 Vuelta without even targeting it and got in his ear.

After Bruyneel explained the potential for improvement from a targeted training and PED regime the rest was history.
 
Jan 3, 2013
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I could be wrong but I think that Archibald wanted to know why Armstrong specifically was selected to be the leader. Was it decided that he had the most potential for improvement from a targeted training and PED regime (in comparison to the other riders) or was it more due to his personality and the fact that he was willing to it?
 
Frosty said:
Wasnt there some story about vandevelde having better figures than Armstrong at a team camp in early 1999 and the figures getting switched or something?
I have no knowledge about the VandeVelde story. However I did read that Greg Lemond said Armstrong had to be taking his own super-potent mix of drugs, because if Tyler or Floyd had been getting the same stuff either one of them would have left Armstrong in the dust.
 
Ferminal said:
It explains itself. Were Hamilton or Vaughters working with Ferrari doping to the absolute extreme? Lance had the commitment to the program and the personnel required to go all the way.
Didnt Vaughters get told his natural Hct level was too high for a better contract.
 
Aug 27, 2012
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In addition, Weisel was an early Eddy B follower and adorer (refer his book) and stumbled upon Lance as a junior in Eddy's program. Lance was identified early as an excellent EPO responder (presumably via Amgen supplies) and having the mental strength (read ruthlessness and focus) to lead a future team.
 
Frosty said:
Wasnt there some story about vandevelde having better figures than Armstrong at a team camp in early 1999 and the figures getting switched or something?
Yes, in a practice TT where CVV was not benefitting from the little white bags, he beat Lance and JB altered the results before CVV was aware of how he did. A clean CVV thought he had lost to a doping Lance, where the opposite was true: CVV had beaten the doper.

Dave.
 
LA was THE American star of the time. Even if he hadn't focused on GTs, he would've been the bawss, so he had freedom to target whatever races he wished, including the Tour. Whatever doubts there were about his potential post-cancer were dispelled in the late 1998 season.
 
Nov 11, 2011
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lance_Armstrong
"Armstrong's last chemotherapy treatment was received on December 13, 1996. In February of 1997, he was declared cancer-free, but shortly afterward came the news that his contract with the Cofidis team had been cancelled. A former boss at Subaru Montgomery offered him a contract with the US Postal team on a salary of $200,000 a year. By January 1998, Armstrong was already engaged in serious training for racing, moving to Europe with the team. A pivotal week (April 1998) in his comeback was one he spent training in the very challenging Appalachian terrain around Boone, North Carolina, with his racing friend Bob Roll"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eddie_Borysewicz
Eddie Borysewicz resigned as coach of the American national team in 1987[10] partly because of disagreements with members of his squad.[11] He started his own amateur team in 1988. Sponsorship by Sunkyong, a Korean electronics firm, ended after a year and Borysewicz sought a replacement in Montgomery Securities. Its chief executive, Thomas Weisel, agreed to a team of 15 that included Lance Armstrong. That team, after several sponsorship changes, became the US Postal Service and Discovery Channel teams for which Armstrong won the Tour de France seven times before those victories were vacated in 2012 after the USADA ruled that Armstrong doped during each of those victories.[12]
Borysewicz claimed Lance Armstrong as his discovery and not that of Armstrong's later coach, Chris Carmichael. When Carmichael said of his work at the US federation that he wished he had "five Lances," Borysewicz replied,
“ "Why doesn't he (Chris Carmichael) produce Lances? That's his job. And anyway, Lance is not his product. Lance is my product."[10]

He was made for it.
 
Aug 17, 2009
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Ferminal said:
It explains itself. Were Hamilton or Vaughters working with Ferrari doping to the absolute extreme? Lance had the commitment to the program and the personnel required to go all the way.

Not say I wasn't doping, but I've never even seen Ferrari, outside of photos online, much less met him, much less "worked" with him...
 
hrotha said:
LA was THE American star of the time. Even if he hadn't focused on GTs, he would've been the bawss, so he had freedom to target whatever races he wished, including the Tour. Whatever doubts there were about his potential post-cancer were dispelled in the late 1998 season.
+1

US Postal was a relatively small(think modern day Euskadi or Lfdjeux) American team and Armstrong was the American star, indeed he was the biggest name in the Anglo world at the time, Chris Boardman was probably next after Armstrong which says it all really(no offence to Boardman).

The 90s were a fallow period for the English speakers following the 80s when there was LeMond, Kelly, Roche, Hampsten, Anderson, Millar, Bauer etc. During the mid 90s Armstrong received all the coverage because he was the only English speaker at that level despite the fact he was most comparable to Bauer in terms of palmares. You just had to see the amount of coverage Amrstrong received just for returning to the sport in 98.

Hamilton talked about how even after coming back from cancer, the rest were all in awe of Armstrong and he was the natural leader of the team. Armstrong had a big input into how Postal was run, it was he who requested Johnny Weltz be removed and replaced by Bruyneel, think Armstrong also had a say in getting rid of the French guys like Robin who had been the GT guy.

As mentioned by other's, Armstrong targeted the 98 Vuelta and was likely doped up accordingly so it was a form of trial run. It was then Bruyneel who convinced Armstrong that he could win the Tour and I have always believed that it was at this junction that they figured they could milk the cancer angle to cover up the doping. I simply cannot believe they failed to factor that in when they decided to aim for the Tour.

Once it was decided Armstrong was going for the Tour, everybody else was expected to focus on helping Lance, the main star on the team.
 
Aug 10, 2010
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Ferminal said:
It explains itself. Were Hamilton or Vaughters working with Ferrari doping to the absolute extreme? Lance had the commitment to the program and the personnel required to go all the way.
I think Ferrari is just plain good at what he does. He knew what Lance was capable of (physically and emotionally) and he gave Lance the thumbs-up to the money men.
 
MarkvW said:
I think Ferrari is just plain good at what he does. He knew what Lance was capable of (physically and emotionally) and he gave Lance the thumbs-up to the money men.
It would have been interesting to have been a fly on the wall.

See JV's insights above.

Why was Lance chosen when others with much better natural attributes and abilities were not chosen?

How much was it self-selection? How much did Lance seek these solution out, and how much did they assess what a positive responder he was?

Dave.
 
The short explanation: If you are the rider that makes it rain money, then you are the leader of the team. This is not uncommon in Pro cycling. The Wiesel book and SF Gate suggests he's got a wierd man-crush on Wonderboy too. That's enough to be tapped as the leader.

Tinman said:
In addition, Weisel was an early Eddy B follower and adorer (refer his book) and stumbled upon Lance as a junior in Eddy's program.
There was no stumbling. Teenage Wonderboy was killing it in the earlier days of triathlon. Now, those were early mankini-days, so he was a bigger fish in a small talent pool.

I don't know and don't care if Eddie B. was a stop on the way to Carmichael's USA Cycling Junior doping program, or Eddie B's just talking or what. National level cycling is/was a very small group of people, so Wonderboy was a known rider.


Tinman said:
Lance was identified early as an excellent DOPING responder and having the mental strength (read ruthlessness and focus) to dope with reckless abandon.
Fixed that for you. The specifics of how Wonderboy starts the EPO are not known, but seem to come later if some of the USADA's documents are to be believed. A few development riders will have already died from EPO-induced heart attacks by then.

IMHO, the awareness of just how much doping was required to do well in cycling with above-average genetic talent was confirmed with Eddie B. Carmichael and Co. had some great International results with Wonderboy doping and Wonderboy himself seemingly had no problems with doping either. That was the stuff of champions without another genetic lottery winner like Lemond coming through the development system.

Even then, if another Lemond came along, he had to dope. That was the Carmichael way.

It is absolutely true that Wiesel was a VC backer for Amgen. It is an interesting fact that has never been fully explored.
 
SundayRider said:
Tyler beat LA's record on the Mondone according to his book I think this was sometime around 2000/01.
If Thom bought the UCI's complicity to create the 7x myth, then a performance or three or five means nothing.

As Dave mentioned in the Chicken confesses thread, Wonderboy's power seemed to increase relative to his competitors over the entire TdF's. In a scenario where the UCI is suppressing Wonderboy positives, Wonderboy can dope more than Tyler.
 
Oct 27, 2009
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Trek Payed To Have Lance on US Postal

Lance wasn't wanted by any teams at the time of his return from cancer.

I recall hearing at the time that it took Trek, of all companies, going out of their way to pay the salary of Lance to even get him signed to US Postal - Nike, Oakley, & Giro may have been included in that agreement, since Lance counted on them as his sponsors that didn't "abandon" him.

I don't think at that time there was any idea that he would become the rider he became. Now, whether or not Trek knew at that time he was, or had used PED's, that is another question. I think there was a general feeling behind the scenes that he had used them in the past. It was a calculated risk by Trek to gamble on his story - it seems to have paid of nicely in the end for them as they are now a much, much larger company.
 
montel said:
I recall hearing at the time that it took Trek, of all companies, going out of their way to pay the salary of Lance to even get him signed to US Postal - Nike, Oakley, & Giro may have been included in that agreement, since Lance counted on them as his sponsors that didn't "abandon" him.
That would be consistent with how Pro cycling works. If you bring money, then you can ride.

montel said:
It was a calculated risk by Trek to gamble on his story - it seems to have paid of nicely in the end for them as they are now a much, much larger company.
Their growth was as much about shifting from the independent bike dealer Marketing model to a vertical market model. IMHO, while some USPS stuff was moving, they have had a strong presence in continental racing scenes that moved much more of their high-end gear. Overall, executive management seem to do a good job too.
 

Dr. Maserati

BANNED
Jun 19, 2009
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Archibald said:
this may have been covered before, so remove if you wish, but it's something that I've wondered for a while, and yet no book on the whole US Postal/LA story seems to mention it **

Weisel(sp?) bankrolled and began US Postal in the late 90's, right? Before 1998/99...

So, why when you have riders, who're fully fit and seasoned competitors, would you say "okay, we have a guy who wasn't all that great at grand tours, hasn't ridden & raced for a couple of years due to cancer, but now he's making a comback, so lets make him our team's leader"...

how exactly did LA become their team leader with f*ckall credentials for GTs?

** for reference, there may be a book I've missed that covers this, but I've read:
It's not about...
Lance Armstrong's War
From Lance to Landis
Bad Blood
The Secret Race
Seven Deadly Sins
and recall nothing in any of them about how he became the leader.
Quite simply, you are starting off on a false premise.
He was not hired by Wiesel as team leader, he was hired because he was relatively cheap and had negotiated a performance related contract.

In Paris Nice 98 when LA pulled out Hincapie was the 'leader' for that race.
For me that period was a seminal moment for him - when he returned he did so fully determined to do whatever it took to be as successful as possible.
As Wiesel, Och etc did not care how success was achieved by the team LA became the de facto leader.
 
Jul 10, 2010
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DirtyWorks said:
The short explanation: If you are the rider that makes it rain money, then you are the leader of the team. This is not uncommon in Pro cycling. The Wiesel book and SF Gate suggests he's got a wierd man-crush on Wonderboy too. That's enough to be tapped as the leader.


There was no stumbling. Teenage Wonderboy was killing it in the earlier days of triathlon. Now, those were early mankini-days, so he was a bigger fish in a small talent pool. . . .
The tri-geek ranks were not all that thin in those days. Lance has charisma, and he is photogenic. Before Lance won - the US was looking for the next dominant US gt star. Julich was mentioned, CVV, and yes, Lance himself, pre-cancer, saw attention as potential gt winners. And for the US public of that day, ONLY the TdF mattered. NO other race generated widespread public enthusiasm. The TdF wasn't the "Super Bowl" of cycling - it was the ONLY cycling event. Everything else was training.

So, we had other riders - but they didn't have the public persona of Lance, nor the over-riding talent of Lemond. If it had been Heiden - HE could have gotten that level of attention. The others had their chance, but lacked either the personality or the results.

Lance started doping way before 1998. But that was when all his stars fell in the right pattern - and things started moving into the big time. And, ultimately, it was the results that got attention.
 

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