Tour 97

Discussion in 'Professional Cycling' started by sopas, Aug 25, 2004.

  1. sopas

    sopas New Member

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    Had Indurain chosen not to retire and ride one more year, and assuming he could arrive it top form at the 97 TdF (not like in 96), could he been able to beat Ulrich in 1997? Indurain is one of the all time greats but Ullrich was simply outstanding in 97. What do you think? Hard to say eh? Any opinions, suggestions?
     
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  2. limerickman

    limerickman Moderator

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    This is a difficult one.
    I think Indurain certainly did have the ability to win another tour in 1997.
    Whether he would have been strong enough to be Jan Ullrich and Telekom is a
    moot point.

    The 1996 TDF saw Riis beating Indurain.
    Riis however was not as strong in 1997 and had to support Jan Ullrich who went on to win the 97 version.
    Was the 97 Jan Ullrich better than Indurain ?

    I would think that it would have been a close run thing.
    I suspect that Ullrich may have found it difficult to beat his (JU's) hero (see
    Ullrich's website - his idol is Indurain).
    If they were neck and neck - would JU have been able to beat his hero ?
    I don't think so.

    I did think that Indurain retired prematurely - I am certain he had another TDF
    win in him.
     
  3. ilpirata

    ilpirata New Member

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    The real question is if either Indurain in 96, Ullrich in 97, or Armstrong in 99,00, etc., would have been able to stop Pantani if not for a broken leg in 96, a bad fall at giro 97, and the imposed will of the Italian mafia in 99. Pantani of 1999 was in better form than 1998 and with betting allowed at the giro for the first time, all knowledgable people were betting on him. Italy is of course famous for betting scandals. In any case if Pantani could be taken out of that giro, 500 million of todays euros were to be gained. This is the truth from behind the scenes. And for daring to proclaim himself innocent, i.e., not lying down and keeping quiet, an unheard of number of tribunals, accusations, libels that broke his spirit. Not to mention invitations to TdF that never came.
     
  4. sopas

    sopas New Member

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    Many of us here in Spain were a bit disapointed (and somehow surprised!) when Indurain retired after the 1996 season at 32. The last rumous were that he was going to sign for the ONCE Team and join Jalabert and Zulle. Had he continued to ride he would have become 33 in July 1997 just in the middle of the TdF. Exactly 10 years older that Ulrich who won in 1997 at 23. Personally I think that in 1997 Ulrich was in great shape, the best Ulrich ever, comparable in every way with the best Indurain (and probably able to beat Armstrong in a couple of his TdF wins). To the question if Miguel would have beaten Ulrich in 1997 and win another TdF, first I ask myself if Indurain could have arrived in good shape which I think it was very likely (he was old, but not too old); Then as you said if they were neck to neck I agree with you somehow that Indurain's long experience in the TdF could have turn the balance on his favor, but still it is hard to say. But not because being Ulrich's hero. I think any young boy would love to beat his heroes, but then of course they would not be their heroes anymore.

    In 1996 of course Indurain was not in good shape, certainly not in the shape of the previous 5 years. So for me it is not a matter of Riis beating Indurain in 1996, but a matter of all the favourites riders beaten Miguel in 1996. He did not even make it to the podium. Otherwise, I think a 1995 Indurain would have beaten Riis in 1996.

    One thing I am sure of, had Indurain, Ulrich and Armstrong coincided in time at their respectives primes, none of them would have won the more than one TdF in a row. They would kill each other, and now any past winner of the TdF with only 2-3 victories would be considered better than them. LOL.

    To end this message I would say that I think Indurain retired mainly becasue after losing the 96 TdF and abandon the 96 Vuelta (remember that stage when he quited?) he was somehow mentally weak (incredible but probably true), and could not risk himself to lose yet again in 1997, even if he had the ability to do so which I think it was possible. Losing again would be too much for his image. Remember that after winning 5 TdF in a row, being 2nd was not an option for Indurain. For him it would have been the same being 2nd that 45th. He had to win. Anyway had Indurain won in 1996 TdF he would have retired too.
     
  5. limerickman

    limerickman Moderator

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    Indeed I do remember BigMig abandoning the Vuelta - just before he did so
    some of the peloton were aware that he was intending to abandon.
    How do I know this ?

    I spoke with ONCE cyclist (and I apologise for this mis-spelling) Hemano Diaz
    Zabeldia at the 1998 TDF in Dublin.
    I've got a photo of Hermano with his arm around BigMigs shoulder, as if to say goodbye to him on Stage 10 (if I recall correctly) of the Vuelta.
    Diaz Zabeldia, he was one tough man.

    But back to BigMig : Riis in 1996, hmmmmmm.
    Old Mr.60% himself.
    That's part of why BigMig was beaten.

    I don't think 1996 was Indurains year as regards the TDF anyway.
    He had a great Dauphine but then struggled in the TDF.

    1997 Jan Ullrich though was very impressive.
    I still think BigMig would have given him a run for his money.

    I was very disappointed that BigMig decided to retire in 1996.
    I take the point that once you've been to the summit and then have failed to regain the summit, that it is is very hard to keep going.
    I suppose I am too much of a fan of BigMigs to see how he felt enough was
    enough.

    I'm going to Pamplona on 12th Sept and I'm going to call in to see BigMig.
    I'll see, if he wants to come out for a quick spin with me !
    But seriously though -I am amazed to learn that he has vurtually dropped out of sight in Spain.
    The man is a national monument !
     
  6. sopas

    sopas New Member

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    I don't think he has been dropped out of sight by the media. He is in fact much respected here. But it has been his own choice. He has repeated many times that he wanted to have an easy life away from the public once he retired. In the year 2000 I think, I saw a commemorative TV documentary about him and his life after retiring. Even though he is a very popular man, he still lives a normal life completely decicated to his children who by the way must be 10 year olds. Sometimes he appears in the radio. Some weekends he goes out with his mountain bike alone or with his brother Prudencio, but you will never see him in popular races like Delgado. He weights about 90 kilos now.

    It is only recenlty that I discovered there is a foundation after his name but I don't really know what is it about. Certainly not as big as Lance Armstrong's. See: http://www.fundacionmiguelindurain.com/
    Miguel is the President of honour (symbolic post) but I don't think he manages the foundation himself.

    There is another interesting website in Spanish at:

    http://www.miguelindurain.es

    Some time ago a put a short article on the internet about Indurain with some stats. If you want you may download it from here:

    http://personal.redestb.es/jripar/indurain.zip

    I am also an Indurain fan of course.
     
  7. limerickman

    limerickman Moderator

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    Muchos gracias.
     
  8. Roadrash Dunc

    Roadrash Dunc New Member

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    Personally i think Indurain retired at the right time.I dont think he had it in him to win another Tour , certainly not against a hungry Ulrich in 97 (that win seems to be ironically the biggest mistake in Ulrichs career.He certainly didnt handle it well and he hasnt since rode with that same intensity.Perhaps he won 'too young'.)
    Anyway , of all 5 time winners , Mercx is the one who should have had more , plenty more.Indurain was amazing but his days were done after '96.
     
  9. sopas

    sopas New Member

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    Your are referring to Herminio Diaz Zabala. Big guy with no hair of the ONCE team, right?
     
  10. limerickman

    limerickman Moderator

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    That's the guy - a cueball (no hair !) cyclist with ONCE.
    The man looked like a pretty tough nut (and I well remember him doing massive turns at the front for ONCE with Jalabert and Zulle).

    I mis-spelled his name - sorry.
    He was one tough bloke - although very nice to talk to (through a translator -
    because my Spanish is terrible)
     
  11. philoakley

    philoakley New Member

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    Even if Indurain was mentally strong in 1997, I doubt he would have beaten Ulrich. Virtually all of Indurain's wins (1995 was probably an exception) involved building time gaps in the time trials and preserving them in the mountains. I do not believe that Indurain would have out time trialed or out climbed Ulrich in 1997 and therefore he probably would have finished on the podium but not first. I imagine that the race could have been similar to the 1994 Giro d'Italia when Indurain could not assert his authority over Evgeni Berzin in the TT's or mountains.
     
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