Roche Says Lance is Finished

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by David Off, Jul 2, 2004.

  1. David Off

    David Off Guest

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/other_sports/cycling/3858759.stm

    Lance Armstrong will fail to become the first man to win six Tours de
    France, according to 1987 winner Stephen Roche. Armstrong is the race
    favourite in 2004, but Irishman Roche believes 1997 Tour winner Jan
    Ullrich will halt the Texan's historic bid.

    "I would be really surprised if Armstrong won," Roche told BBC Sport.

    "He may be mentally tougher than he's ever been and tactically more
    astute, but I don't believe he's the same rider physically anymore."

    He added: "If I were to pick it, I'd go Ullrich first, Tyler Hamilton
    second and Armstrong third." Armstrong does not appear to be at his best
    going into the 2004 race.

    He was outridden by Iban Mayo and Hamilton on the Dauphine Libere and
    looked as though he was struggling at crucial times. In contrast,
    Ullrich appears to be in good shape, close to the sort of form that won
    him the race seven years ago.

    And Roche believes the German has even more "bite" after his runner-up
    spot 12 months ago. "People have been talking about him carrying too
    much weight and not looking as sharp in races as before, but that's
    nonsense," said Roche.

    "He looked better and better in his final warm-up - the Tour of
    Switzerland - and I think he's hitting top form at exactly the right time."

    Armstrong endured his toughest Tour in 2003.

    Although he won - matching the achievements of five-time champions
    Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain - he
    lacked the invincibility of previous seasons.

    He suffered from malnutrition and dehydration, fell on the final ascent
    on stage 15, and was repeatedly attacked by his rivals. "Last year, the
    cracks started to show," said Roche. "Those cracks are only going to get
    wider."
     
    Tags:


  2. Lance Armstrong's Bid For Coveted Sixth Tour de France Foiled
    By Joe King, Dullard Trite, and Richard Longwood
    Special to ESPN, MTV, MIT, and CYCLINGNEWS.COM

    PARIS, FRANCE -- Heading into the final stages of the 2004 Tour de France,
    Lance Armstrong looked destined to be in clear and eternal glory. Another
    victory and he would create a new cycling pantheon. But long shot Tyler
    Hamilton was coming on steadily, and suddenly Lance began to look weary.
    There would be no six-time Tour de France champion.

    Even when he still was in front by minutes, Johan Bruyneel, Lance
    Armstrong's coach, knew he was in trouble. "When I looked back and saw the
    way Tyler Hamilton was coming at us, yeah, I thought we were going to get
    beat," Bruyneel said.

    Tyler Hamilton, coached by Urs Freuler, had Lance Armstrong in his sights,
    and 7 stages from the last stage, Urs Freuler's stallion went by the five
    time Tour de France champion en route to a commanding victory before a crowd
    of millions, the largest ever to see a sporting event in France. For the
    first time in five years, Lance Armstrong didn't win.

    Freuler and the other Phonak managers Alvaro Pino, Jacques Michaud, and René
    Savary and Tyler's parents had mixed emotions after last year's situation
    when Tyler emerged from obscurity last July to become Massachusetts'
    favorite son and an international celebrity.

    As Tyler Hamilton and Lance Armstrong galloped out, Freuler got on Bruyneel'
    s radio frequency and told him, "Better luck next time jackass! You were a
    fool for letting your pretty boy do all those OLN segments and all those
    other car commercials." It surprised Bruyneel, who undoubtedly was in an
    agitated state.

    "He said he was sorry," Bruyneel said. "I said, 'What are you going to do?
    That's bike racing.'"

    Freuler was thrilled over finally beating his jinx race and completing his
    personal goal. Besides winning 15 stages of the Giro d'Italia, 3 stages of
    the Tour de France, 5 stages of the Tour de Romandie, 9 stages of the Tour
    de Suisse, Urs Freuler also took 10 World Track titles. After not making
    the podium last year at the Tour de France, the Swiss native not only won
    this year's Tour de France but also did it without Tyler using any
    performance enhancing drugs. Still, he felt for those who yearned for a
    Lance victory.

    "What can I say?" Freuler said. "I feel great, the jihad worked and it was
    an emotional thing. It's sad because Lance was great for racing."

    Emma O'Reilly, Ireland's leading big mouth, was weepy and overjoyed. Her
    feelings were confusing. "This means so much to me," she said.

    "This is a homebred champion. My husband [Mr. Hamilton, Tyler's father] is
    the one who decided that we breed and produce this year's Tour de France
    champion. But we do feel bad for Lance (wink, wink). It's bittersweet. We
    were rooting for Lance (wink, wink). We love Lance. I think Lance has done
    more for the racing community and people who love cycling."

    Love hurts, and Lance went down because he was judged badly by David Walsh
    and Pierre Ballester at the end of a glorious ride through France.
    Bruyneel, the only Belgian coach Lance has ever known, asked far too much of
    him in the most grueling race Lance will ever run.

    Lance never got a breather in an exhausting stage to the top of Plateau de
    Beille. He was 30 seconds behind at the first feed zone and two minutes
    back at the base of the last climb while always battling just to stay in the
    peloton. His pharmacist was worried a long way out, and he looked more
    angry than disappointed seconds after Tyler Hamilton crossed the finish line
    to win the stage.

    "We just weren't able to manage his hematocrit," Bruyneel said minutes
    later. "You can't win a 23 day stage race without getting that stabilized.
    I knew when we didn't win Plateau de Beille that we were in a little
    trouble. He just wasn't stabilized the way he was in the previous two
    stages."

    After taking constant pressure from Roberto Heras and Oscar Sevilla while
    chasing Jan Ullrich and Iban Mayo, Lance Armstrong took the early lead on
    the L'Alpe d'Huez stage by 10 seconds half way to the top. Bruyneel had him
    kick for home early -- too early -- and opened a 20 second lead 6 kilometers
    from the finish. Heras, Sevilla, Mayo and Ullrich were done, but Tyler
    Hamilton proved to have the biggest schlong of the day and won big time.

    The next day, Freuler let Tyler Hamilton move comfortably to the finish in
    Le Grand Bornand while Lance took the heat down the backstretch, and
    although Tyler was far back, Freuler still wasn't worried. Tyler Hamilton
    was on cruise control, and Lance wasn't home free.

    "At the top of the Col de la Madeleine, I still thought we had a good shot,"
    Bruyneel said, "but then I looked over and saw Tyler Hamilton smoking a
    cigarette and thought we might be in trouble."

    He was. Tyler Hamilton ground Lance down and took the lead for good, and
    Lance had nothing left to throw at him. Tyler Hamilton lost only 12 seconds
    in the descent into the Le Grand Bornand finish while Lance Armstrong rode
    at 60 kilometers per hour in the last 2 kilometers, way too fast to recover
    for the next day.

    Millions of American people were seriously bummed out because Lance got beat
    in Paris. Jay Leno had called to ask if Lance would come to California to
    appear on his show. President Bush issued an open invitation for Lance to
    visit the Rose Garden. One woman wrote to Bruyneel and asked if she could
    have a nude photo shoot taken with Lance. All were turned down.

    "It's unbelievable how it's taken off," Bruyneel said Friday. "It's just
    kind of snowballed. It seems like the story is flowing across the country
    and everyone has kind of adopted him as the feel-good story and their
    favorite Texan."

    "I think the timing has a lot to do with it. There are so many bad things
    going on in the world," Jonathan Vaughters of Boulder said when he came to
    the Paris finish of the Tour de France. "People get tired of looking at the
    bad things on the front page and they skip to the sports page. They get to
    read a feel-good story about a little drug using Texas cyclist who's doing
    swell."

    "It has been great for the drug companies, and hopefully it continues."

    Unfortunately for Lance and his connections, it didn't.

    Bruyneel tried to accentuate the positive while taking the pain with class
    and grace. While Freuler was being interviewed after the race, Bruyneel
    congratulated him with a crushing Belgian handshake.

    "Well, it's tough," Bruyneel said. "We had a shot to make big history here.
    We didn't do it. We've had a great year. I'm not going to put my head
    down. I'm proud of the whole team and everybody needs to be happy. They
    don't need to be sad."

    Too bad it didn't feel that way Sunday night in Paris, and that wouldn't
    change Monday morning.






    "David Off" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    > http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/other_sports/cycling/3858759.stm
    >
    > Lance Armstrong will fail to become the first man to win six Tours de
    > France, according to 1987 winner Stephen Roche. Armstrong is the race
    > favourite in 2004, but Irishman Roche believes 1997 Tour winner Jan
    > Ullrich will halt the Texan's historic bid.
    >
    > "I would be really surprised if Armstrong won," Roche told BBC Sport.
    >
    > "He may be mentally tougher than he's ever been and tactically more
    > astute, but I don't believe he's the same rider physically anymore."
    >
    > He added: "If I were to pick it, I'd go Ullrich first, Tyler Hamilton
    > second and Armstrong third." Armstrong does not appear to be at his best
    > going into the 2004 race.
    >
    > He was outridden by Iban Mayo and Hamilton on the Dauphine Libere and
    > looked as though he was struggling at crucial times. In contrast,
    > Ullrich appears to be in good shape, close to the sort of form that won
    > him the race seven years ago.
    >
    > And Roche believes the German has even more "bite" after his runner-up
    > spot 12 months ago. "People have been talking about him carrying too
    > much weight and not looking as sharp in races as before, but that's
    > nonsense," said Roche.
    >
    > "He looked better and better in his final warm-up - the Tour of
    > Switzerland - and I think he's hitting top form at exactly the right

    time."
    >
    > Armstrong endured his toughest Tour in 2003.
    >
    > Although he won - matching the achievements of five-time champions
    > Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain - he
    > lacked the invincibility of previous seasons.
    >
    > He suffered from malnutrition and dehydration, fell on the final ascent
    > on stage 15, and was repeatedly attacked by his rivals. "Last year, the
    > cracks started to show," said Roche. "Those cracks are only going to get
    > wider."
     
  3. robet

    robet Guest

    Talk is cheap... let the race begin!!!!!


    "David Off" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    > http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/other_sports/cycling/3858759.stm
    >
    > Lance Armstrong will fail to become the first man to win six Tours de
    > France, according to 1987 winner Stephen Roche. Armstrong is the race
    > favourite in 2004, but Irishman Roche believes 1997 Tour winner Jan
    > Ullrich will halt the Texan's historic bid.
    >
    > "I would be really surprised if Armstrong won," Roche told BBC Sport.
    >
    > "He may be mentally tougher than he's ever been and tactically more
    > astute, but I don't believe he's the same rider physically anymore."
    >
    > He added: "If I were to pick it, I'd go Ullrich first, Tyler Hamilton
    > second and Armstrong third." Armstrong does not appear to be at his best
    > going into the 2004 race.
    >
    > He was outridden by Iban Mayo and Hamilton on the Dauphine Libere and
    > looked as though he was struggling at crucial times. In contrast,
    > Ullrich appears to be in good shape, close to the sort of form that won
    > him the race seven years ago.
    >
    > And Roche believes the German has even more "bite" after his runner-up
    > spot 12 months ago. "People have been talking about him carrying too
    > much weight and not looking as sharp in races as before, but that's
    > nonsense," said Roche.
    >
    > "He looked better and better in his final warm-up - the Tour of
    > Switzerland - and I think he's hitting top form at exactly the right

    time."
    >
    > Armstrong endured his toughest Tour in 2003.
    >
    > Although he won - matching the achievements of five-time champions
    > Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain - he
    > lacked the invincibility of previous seasons.
    >
    > He suffered from malnutrition and dehydration, fell on the final ascent
    > on stage 15, and was repeatedly attacked by his rivals. "Last year, the
    > cracks started to show," said Roche. "Those cracks are only going to get
    > wider."
    >
     
  4. B. Lafferty

    B. Lafferty Guest

    I agree it's time to race, but Roche, for all his faults, is a fairly
    perceptive race observer. I happened to be flipping through his
    autobiography last night [The Agony and the Ecstasy with---DAVID WALSH :)]
    and he really does have interesting and accurate observations as to then
    current riders. We'll soon know.

    "robet" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    > Talk is cheap... let the race begin!!!!!
    >
    >
    > "David Off" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]
    > > http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/other_sports/cycling/3858759.stm

    [snip]
     
  5. David Off

    David Off Guest

    B. Lafferty wrote:

    > I agree it's time to race, but Roche, for all his faults, is a fairly
    > perceptive race observer.


    I think Roche is right, but if Armstrong does crack I think he will end
    up a long way back not third. There are a few riders going into the race
    who have good teams and are extremely motivated and saw that Armstrong
    could be beaten last year. I think Ullrich could do it, I'm not
    convinced Mayo will get through all the 3 weeks. Hamilton is a bit of a
    wildcard, I admire Roche for sticking his neck out.

    As you said, Roche has faults, but at least he used to race to win the
    whole season which is one reason I hesitate to put LA up in the same
    class with Merckx and Coppi although I respect his comeback after
    cancer. Although if he makes six TdFs I think he will be one of the
    greats. Let's not forget that all the guys you mentioned have faults.
     
  6. David Off <[email protected]> wrote:

    > France, according to 1987 winner Stephen Roche. Armstrong is the race


    Didn't Roche have a TT bike with a totally crazy seat tube slope? Something
    like 55 degs or something? I looked for that pictures of that bike at some
    point but couldn't find it.

    Didier

    --
    Didier A Depireux [email protected] [email protected]
    20 Penn Str - S218E http://neurobiology.umaryland.edu/depireux.htm
    Anatomy and Neurobiology Phone: 410-706-1272 (lab)
    University of Maryland -1273 (off)
    Baltimore MD 21201 USA Fax: 1-410-706-2512
     
  7. On Fri, 02 Jul 2004 11:22:36 +0200, David Off <[email protected]>
    wrote:

    >cracks started to show," said Roche. "Those cracks are only going to get
    >wider."


    ....much like Roche's frame nowadays.
     
  8. "B. Lafferty" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    > I agree it's time to race, but Roche, for all his faults, is a fairly
    > perceptive race observer. I happened to be flipping through his
    > autobiography last night [The Agony and the Ecstasy with---DAVID WALSH

    :)]
    > and he really does have interesting and accurate observations as to then
    > current riders. We'll soon know.
    >
    > "robet" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]
    > > Talk is cheap... let the race begin!!!!!
    > >

    Roche had a great career- he has nothing to prove, gain or lose with his
    observations.

    My feeling is that this tour will be much tougher for lance because he has
    everything to prove and he will be under incredible pressure. Even more so
    than Ullrich, or those who have never won. The pressure will be immense and
    no one is superhuman, not even lance. I think i said before that if he does
    begin to crack or falter at all, it won't be in the beginning- it will be in
    the third week. Let's face it, winning five takes a toll on you no matter
    what. Not just DOING five, but winning five. Ullrich's year off probably
    added two years to his career.BUt I began to notice last year that lance is
    really starting to age and looked mch older than he did in 1995. It's like
    winning each tour ages you in dog years. And there's not just ullrich, but
    other younger guys putting on the pressure like Mayo and others who want the
    big stage wins in the mountains. So if that pressure doesn't get to him, I
    will be truly astonished and ask for his secret in dealing with stress!
     
  9. Chris

    Chris Guest

    "David Off" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    > http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/other_sports/cycling/3858759.stm
    >
    > Lance Armstrong will fail to become the first man to win six Tours de
    > France, according to 1987 winner Stephen Roche. Armstrong is the race
    > favourite in 2004, but Irishman Roche believes 1997 Tour winner Jan
    > Ullrich will halt the Texan's historic bid.
    >
    > "I would be really surprised if Armstrong won," Roche told BBC Sport.
    >
    > "He may be mentally tougher than he's ever been and tactically more
    > astute, but I don't believe he's the same rider physically anymore."
    >
    > He added: "If I were to pick it, I'd go Ullrich first, Tyler Hamilton
    > second and Armstrong third." Armstrong does not appear to be at his best
    > going into the 2004 race.


    I have been keeping this to myself, but I also think all of the evidence
    points to an Ullrich win. I don't know how Lance will react to losing, so
    Tyler has ever chance to beat Lance. Actually, Tyler is having such a strong
    season while apparently not yet at his peak and it does seem to look like
    Tyler could actally pull it off if nothing goes wrong for him. He did beat
    Lance and Ullrich in last year's final ITT (only a confessed EPO user beat
    Tyler that day and he may in fact inherit the win rertroactively). The thing
    is that the parcours is so unique this year it really is not so easy to pick
    a favorite. This year, tactics will make more difference than any year
    since...probably 1988 (although there were not a lot of strong contenders to
    exploit that edition's unique course).

    Anyhow, Tyler can beat Lance on any given day and if he realized that last
    year and planned his whole Tour around the assumption that Lance is not a
    shoo-in then Tyler is probably the best equipped after Ullrich. The thing
    about Ullrich is that we really do not know how he will react to *finally*
    being expected to win and being prepared physically. Ullrich's best year of
    fitness against Lance was in 2001, but that was not the same rider that
    ripped up the cols and TTs in 1996, '97 or even '98. If Jan can acheive that
    level of fitness and not choke from placing second so many times (I do
    beleive many riders get psched out by their previous results). The bottom
    line is that a well prepared Ullrich or Hamilton have an even chance to beat
    Armstrong, except that LA has the psychological advantage and that may be
    what allows him to race to his record breaking 6th win. He fooled them last
    year and nobody reacted too stronly to all of his BS excuses that were
    really all about making it seem foolish to attack him. It was cool watching
    him suffer like that last year and he really did earn that win. It all boils
    down this year to the unique course and how the other contenders react to
    his weakening form. Unless there is some disaster, this will be one of the
    most competitive Tours since '89 (3 previous winners all battling for the
    win to the end). I almost wish that the last day was an ITT again, AMO blew
    it on that. They knew in plenty of time that this would be a hard faught
    Tour and the last days spring stage in not as important to tradition as
    having an exciting GC battle.


    > He was outridden by Iban Mayo and Hamilton on the Dauphine Libere and
    > looked as though he was struggling at crucial times.


    That can cut both ways.

    >In contrast,
    > Ullrich appears to be in good shape, close to the sort of form that won
    > him the race seven years ago.


    Lance has still won far more races this year but the timing of Ullrich's
    wins compared to his previous attempts to dethrone LA are what is most
    relavant. I actually think LA will be stronger in the prolog this year but I
    think Ullrich is a lot less likely to lose form before the end. The only
    Tour that Ullrich lost form in was the year he won. Hmm...well, that was
    really a different situtation.

    > And Roche believes the German has even more "bite" after his runner-up
    > spot 12 months ago.


    Let's hope so.

    > "People have been talking about him carrying too
    > much weight and not looking as sharp in races as before, but that's
    > nonsense," said Roche.


    Totally.


    > "He looked better and better in his final warm-up - the Tour of
    > Switzerland - and I think he's hitting top form at exactly the right

    time."
    >
    > Armstrong endured his toughest Tour in 2003.
    >
    > Although he won - matching the achievements of five-time champions
    > Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain - he
    > lacked the invincibility of previous seasons.
    >
    > He suffered from malnutrition and dehydration, fell on the final ascent
    > on stage 15, and was repeatedly attacked by his rivals. "Last year, the
    > cracks started to show," said Roche. "Those cracks are only going to get
    > wider."


    I agree with Stephen. Lance would have you believe that all of those were
    mistakes that are not likely to be repeated (isolated bad luck or
    something). He is not much stronger than his rivals or maybe slightly weaker
    but he is mentally the toughest racer I have ever seen. He knows how and
    when to suffer. If he does take a 6th Tour (and is not exposed as a cheat)
    he will be remembered as the hardest working man of his generation. I think
    that also explains his popularity. If only he had a little more tact, he
    might not have as many people waiting for him to fall. He was not a gracious
    winner last year (although he was in the previous 4 wins) and I hate to
    think about his reaction to actually losing. I even thought he might retire
    after last year, because his fear of losing is so intense. I guess his ego
    is still as strong as ever though and so now he will try to take the out
    right record for Tour wins at an age when Hinault (one of he best all
    rounders after Eddy) retired.
     
  10. Chris

    Chris Guest

    "Richard Longwood" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    > Lance Armstrong's Bid For Coveted Sixth Tour de France Foiled
    > By Joe King, Dullard Trite, and Richard Longwood
    > Special to ESPN, MTV, MIT, and CYCLINGNEWS.COM
    >
    > PARIS, FRANCE -- Heading into the final stages of the 2004 Tour de France,
    > Lance Armstrong looked destined to be in clear and eternal glory. Another
    > victory and he would create a new cycling pantheon. But long shot Tyler
    > Hamilton was coming on steadily, and suddenly Lance began to look weary.
    > There would be no six-time Tour de France champion.


    I think if Lance does lose, he may fail to get the yellow jersey entirely.


    > Even when he still was in front by minutes, Johan Bruyneel, Lance
    > Armstrong's coach, knew he was in trouble. "When I looked back and saw

    the
    > way Tyler Hamilton was coming at us, yeah, I thought we were going to get
    > beat," Bruyneel said.
    >
    > Tyler Hamilton, coached by Urs Freuler, had Lance Armstrong in his sights,
    > and 7 stages from the last stage, Urs Freuler's stallion went by the five
    > time Tour de France champion en route to a commanding victory before a

    crowd
    > of millions, the largest ever to see a sporting event in France. For the
    > first time in five years, Lance Armstrong didn't win.
    >
    > Freuler and the other Phonak managers Alvaro Pino, Jacques Michaud, and

    René
    > Savary and Tyler's parents had mixed emotions after last year's situation
    > when Tyler emerged from obscurity last July to become Massachusetts'
    > favorite son and an international celebrity.
    >
    > As Tyler Hamilton and Lance Armstrong galloped out, Freuler got on

    Bruyneel'
    > s radio frequency and told him, "Better luck next time jackass! You were

    a
    > fool for letting your pretty boy do all those OLN segments and all those
    > other car commercials." It surprised Bruyneel, who undoubtedly was in an
    > agitated state.


    Funny...and somehow realistic?

    > "He said he was sorry," Bruyneel said. "I said, 'What are you going to

    do?
    > That's bike racing.'"
    >
    > Freuler was thrilled over finally beating his jinx race and completing his
    > personal goal. Besides winning 15 stages of the Giro d'Italia, 3 stages

    of
    > the Tour de France, 5 stages of the Tour de Romandie, 9 stages of the Tour
    > de Suisse, Urs Freuler also took 10 World Track titles. After not making
    > the podium last year at the Tour de France, the Swiss native not only won
    > this year's Tour de France but also did it without Tyler using any
    > performance enhancing drugs. Still, he felt for those who yearned for a
    > Lance victory.
    >
    > "What can I say?" Freuler said. "I feel great, the jihad worked and it was
    > an emotional thing. It's sad because Lance was great for racing."
    >
    > Emma O'Reilly, Ireland's leading big mouth, was weepy and overjoyed. Her
    > feelings were confusing. "This means so much to me," she said.
    >
    > "This is a homebred champion. My husband [Mr. Hamilton, Tyler's father]

    is
    > the one who decided that we breed and produce this year's Tour de France
    > champion.


    Tyler got in to cycling the same way Greg Lemond did, while using it to
    train for competitive skiing.

    >But we do feel bad for Lance (wink, wink). It's bittersweet. We
    > were rooting for Lance (wink, wink). We love Lance. I think Lance has

    done
    > more for the racing community and people who love cycling."
    >
    > Love hurts, and Lance went down because he was judged badly by David Walsh
    > and Pierre Ballester at the end of a glorious ride through France.
    > Bruyneel, the only Belgian coach Lance has ever known, asked far too much

    of
    > him in the most grueling race Lance will ever run.
    >
    > Lance never got a breather in an exhausting stage to the top of Plateau de
    > Beille. He was 30 seconds behind at the first feed zone and two minutes
    > back at the base of the last climb while always battling just to stay in

    the
    > peloton. His pharmacist was worried a long way out, and he looked more
    > angry than disappointed seconds after Tyler Hamilton crossed the finish

    line
    > to win the stage.
    >
    > "We just weren't able to manage his hematocrit," Bruyneel said minutes
    > later. "You can't win a 23 day stage race without getting that stabilized.


    OMG...I guess people are really starting to think that...

    > I knew when we didn't win Plateau de Beille that we were in a little
    > trouble. He just wasn't stabilized the way he was in the previous two
    > stages."
    >
    > After taking constant pressure from Roberto Heras and Oscar Sevilla while
    > chasing Jan Ullrich and Iban Mayo, Lance Armstrong took the early lead on
    > the L'Alpe d'Huez stage by 10 seconds half way to the top. Bruyneel had

    him
    > kick for home early -- too early -- and opened a 20 second lead 6

    kilometers
    > from the finish. Heras, Sevilla, Mayo and Ullrich were done, but Tyler
    > Hamilton proved to have the biggest schlong of the day and won big time.
    >
    > The next day, Freuler let Tyler Hamilton move comfortably to the finish in
    > Le Grand Bornand while Lance took the heat down the backstretch, and
    > although Tyler was far back, Freuler still wasn't worried. Tyler Hamilton
    > was on cruise control, and Lance wasn't home free.
    >
    > "At the top of the Col de la Madeleine, I still thought we had a good

    shot,"
    > Bruyneel said, "but then I looked over and saw Tyler Hamilton smoking a
    > cigarette and thought we might be in trouble."
    >
    > He was. Tyler Hamilton ground Lance down and took the lead for good, and
    > Lance had nothing left to throw at him. Tyler Hamilton lost only 12

    seconds
    > in the descent into the Le Grand Bornand finish while Lance Armstrong rode
    > at 60 kilometers per hour in the last 2 kilometers, way too fast to

    recover
    > for the next day.
    >
    > Millions of American people were seriously bummed out because Lance got

    beat
    > in Paris. Jay Leno had called to ask if Lance would come to California to
    > appear on his show. President Bush issued an open invitation for Lance to
    > visit the Rose Garden. One woman wrote to Bruyneel and asked if she could
    > have a nude photo shoot taken with Lance. All were turned down.
    >
    > "It's unbelievable how it's taken off," Bruyneel said Friday. "It's just
    > kind of snowballed. It seems like the story is flowing across the country
    > and everyone has kind of adopted him as the feel-good story and their
    > favorite Texan."


    Let's see how he handles losing before we write the final chapter of "The
    Lance Chronicles".

    > "I think the timing has a lot to do with it. There are so many bad things
    > going on in the world," Jonathan Vaughters of Boulder said when he came to
    > the Paris finish of the Tour de France. "People get tired of looking at

    the
    > bad things on the front page and they skip to the sports page. They get

    to
    > read a feel-good story about a little drug using Texas cyclist who's doing
    > swell."
    >
    > "It has been great for the drug companies, and hopefully it continues."


    That is probably true.

    > Unfortunately for Lance and his connections, it didn't.
    >
    > Bruyneel tried to accentuate the positive while taking the pain with class
    > and grace. While Freuler was being interviewed after the race, Bruyneel
    > congratulated him with a crushing Belgian handshake.
    >
    > "Well, it's tough," Bruyneel said. "We had a shot to make big history

    here.
    > We didn't do it. We've had a great year. I'm not going to put my head
    > down. I'm proud of the whole team and everybody needs to be happy. They
    > don't need to be sad."
    >
    > Too bad it didn't feel that way Sunday night in Paris, and that wouldn't
    > change Monday morning.


    I do think that Bruyneel will show himself as the (USPS) man with the most
    class...when they have to handle a loss in the Tour.

    >
    >
    >
    >
    > "David Off" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]
    > > http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/other_sports/cycling/3858759.stm
    > >
    > > Lance Armstrong will fail to become the first man to win six Tours de
    > > France, according to 1987 winner Stephen Roche. Armstrong is the race
    > > favourite in 2004, but Irishman Roche believes 1997 Tour winner Jan
    > > Ullrich will halt the Texan's historic bid.
    > >
    > > "I would be really surprised if Armstrong won," Roche told BBC Sport.
    > >
    > > "He may be mentally tougher than he's ever been and tactically more
    > > astute, but I don't believe he's the same rider physically anymore."
    > >
    > > He added: "If I were to pick it, I'd go Ullrich first, Tyler Hamilton
    > > second and Armstrong third." Armstrong does not appear to be at his best
    > > going into the 2004 race.
    > >
    > > He was outridden by Iban Mayo and Hamilton on the Dauphine Libere and
    > > looked as though he was struggling at crucial times. In contrast,
    > > Ullrich appears to be in good shape, close to the sort of form that won
    > > him the race seven years ago.
    > >
    > > And Roche believes the German has even more "bite" after his runner-up
    > > spot 12 months ago. "People have been talking about him carrying too
    > > much weight and not looking as sharp in races as before, but that's
    > > nonsense," said Roche.
    > >
    > > "He looked better and better in his final warm-up - the Tour of
    > > Switzerland - and I think he's hitting top form at exactly the right

    > time."
    > >
    > > Armstrong endured his toughest Tour in 2003.
    > >
    > > Although he won - matching the achievements of five-time champions
    > > Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain - he
    > > lacked the invincibility of previous seasons.
    > >
    > > He suffered from malnutrition and dehydration, fell on the final ascent
    > > on stage 15, and was repeatedly attacked by his rivals. "Last year, the
    > > cracks started to show," said Roche. "Those cracks are only going to get
    > > wider."

    >
    >
     
  11. "Marlene Blanshay" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:_0gFc.15641>
    > My feeling is that this tour will be much tougher for lance because he has
    > everything to prove and he will be under incredible pressure. Even more so
    > than Ullrich, or those who have never won. The pressure will be immense

    and
    > no one is superhuman, not even lance. I think i said before that if he

    does
    > begin to crack or falter at all, it won't be in the beginning- it will be

    in
    > the third week. Let's face it, winning five takes a toll on you no matter
    > what. Not just DOING five, but winning five. Ullrich's year off probably
    > added two years to his career.BUt I began to notice last year that lance

    is
    > really starting to age and looked mch older than he did in 1995. It's like
    > winning each tour ages you in dog years. And there's not just ullrich, but
    > other younger guys putting on the pressure like Mayo and others who want

    the
    > big stage wins in the mountains. So if that pressure doesn't get to him, I
    > will be truly astonished and ask for his secret in dealing with stress!
    >

    Agree,
    just hope nobody makes a fool out of LA, as Riis did of Indurain in the 96
    tour.
    -tom
     
  12. Chris

    Chris Guest

    "B. Lafferty" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    > I agree it's time to race, but Roche,
    >for all his faults,


    I guess you have to say that after Stephen's (one) lapse in judgement.

    >is a fairly
    > perceptive race observer. I happened to be flipping through his
    > autobiography last night [The Agony and the Ecstasy with---DAVID WALSH

    :)]
    > and he really does have interesting and accurate observations as to then
    > current riders. We'll soon know.


    Stephen was one of the most talented of his generation and if his knee had
    not caused so many troughs in his career he likely would have a palmares
    somewhere between Lemond's and Hinault's. When he was on form, he could take
    any mountain stage, ITT or hilly classic. The thing is I don't think Greg
    and Stephen were ever on form at the same time. Greg spent more time "in the
    (winning) zone" but I don't know that he was stronger. I am sure he is one
    of the better analysts because of how much of his career he spent "on the
    mend" and watching the big events from the sidelines.

    > "robet" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]
    > > Talk is cheap... let the race begin!!!!!
    > >
    > >
    > > "David Off" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > > news:[email protected]
    > > > http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/other_sports/cycling/3858759.stm

    > [snip]
    >
    >
     
  13. Chris

    Chris Guest

    "Marlene Blanshay" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    >
    > "B. Lafferty" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]
    > > I agree it's time to race, but Roche, for all his faults, is a fairly
    > > perceptive race observer. I happened to be flipping through his
    > > autobiography last night [The Agony and the Ecstasy with---DAVID WALSH

    > :)]
    > > and he really does have interesting and accurate observations as to then
    > > current riders. We'll soon know.
    > >
    > > "robet" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > > news:[email protected]
    > > > Talk is cheap... let the race begin!!!!!
    > > >

    > Roche had a great career- he has nothing to prove, gain or lose with his
    > observations.
    >
    > My feeling is that this tour will be much tougher for lance because he has
    > everything to prove and he will be under incredible pressure. Even more so
    > than Ullrich, or those who have never won. The pressure will be immense

    and
    > no one is superhuman, not even lance.


    The pressure works in Lance's favor for as long as he has the form to
    compete.

    I think i said before that if he does
    > begin to crack or falter at all, it won't be in the beginning- it will be

    in
    > the third week.


    I think I could handle the first 2 weeks of this Tour, so that is not really
    a prediction that requires a lot of thought...

    Let's face it, winning five takes a toll on you no matter
    > what. Not just DOING five, but winning five.


    I think it is a case of declining VO2 max that comes with age and declining
    HGH and testosterone levels. The pressure works for him until *that* starts
    to take its toll. The fact that it is considered doping and not detectable
    (in most cases) to use HRT means that a 6th win in some minds will be more
    evidence that Lance dopes.

    >Ullrich's year off probably
    > added two years to his career.


    Hmm...

    >BUt I began to notice last year that lance is
    > really starting to age and looked mch older than he did in 1995. It's like
    > winning each tour ages you in dog years.


    Evidence that he is *not* using HRT (considered doping) even though he could
    do it without testing positive.

    And there's not just ullrich, but
    > other younger guys putting on the pressure like Mayo and others who want

    the
    > big stage wins in the mountains. So if that pressure doesn't get to him, I
    > will be truly astonished and ask for his secret in dealing with stress!


    He already talks about it numerous times in his books. He hates to "lose"
    and has an American attitude towards bike racing. There is only one winner
    and the rest are "losers". His ego issues turn that in to a competitive
    advantage. I have no idea what his Oedipus complex does for his racing
    though so I will leave that to others to figure out. Maybe having his mom
    and the others around keep him keeps him highly motivated to not be a
    "loser" that he fears himself to be?
     
  14. Chris

    Chris Guest

    "Didier A. Depireux" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    > David Off <[email protected]> wrote:
    >
    > > France, according to 1987 winner Stephen Roche. Armstrong is the race

    >
    > Didn't Roche have a TT bike with a totally crazy seat tube slope?

    Something
    > like 55 degs or something? I looked for that pictures of that bike at some
    > point but couldn't find it.
    >
    > Didier


    No, you are thinking of Steve Bauer's bikes (from the early 90s IIRC. I only
    saw the road version with the radical seat tube angle). Roche only ever
    raced with team issue bikes AFAIK.

    > --
    > Didier A Depireux [email protected] [email protected]
    > 20 Penn Str - S218E http://neurobiology.umaryland.edu/depireux.htm
    > Anatomy and Neurobiology Phone: 410-706-1272 (lab)
    > University of Maryland -1273 (off)
    > Baltimore MD 21201 USA Fax: 1-410-706-2512
     
  15. Patrick

    Patrick Guest

    > I think Roche is right, but if Armstrong does crack I think he will end
    > up a long way back not third.



    I tend to agree with this. If he doesn't win it I think he'll be way
    back or even drop before the finish. But I'm also anticipating a
    finish similar to TDS. One second never looked so huge. I'm getting a
    woody.
     
  16. "Chris" <[email protected]> writes:

    > Anyhow, Tyler can beat Lance on any given day and if he realized
    > that last year and planned his whole Tour around the assumption that
    > Lance is not a shoo-in then Tyler is probably the best equipped
    > after Ullrich.


    Whoah there... Tyler isn't that great a climber and often fades on the
    final climb. I think of the two, Ullrich is usually better up the
    hills, or at least doesn't lose so much on the final portions if he's
    feeling well.

    --
    David N. Welton
    Personal: http://www.dedasys.com/davidw/
    Free Software: http://www.dedasys.com/freesoftware/
    Apache Tcl: http://tcl.apache.org/
    Photos: http://www.dedasys.com/photos/
     
  17. Kyle Legate

    Kyle Legate Guest

    "Chris" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    >
    >
    > >BUt I began to notice last year that lance is
    > > really starting to age and looked mch older than he did in 1995. It's

    like
    > > winning each tour ages you in dog years.

    >
    > Evidence that he is *not* using HRT (considered doping) even though he

    could
    > do it without testing positive.
    >

    Explain how taking testosterone and/or hGH amounts to the fountain of youth.
     
  18. David Off

    David Off Guest

    Chris wrote:

    > He already talks about it numerous times in his books. He hates to "lose"


    plus, if he doens't get yellow there are none of those cute podium babes
    to slip it to after the tour is over. Motivation enough.
     
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