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  #1  
Old 06-27-2005, 10:33 AM
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Curare Curare is offline
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Default 2005 Le Tour de France

Le Tour begins this Saturday (July 2nd)!

Lance Armstrong has said win or lose, he's retiring after the race.
Eurosport has compiled memories of Lance by cycling personalities:
http://www.eurosport.com/home/pages/...to734014.shtml

It'll be interesting to see how the Discovery does without Ekimov. Lance has definitely benefited from the Team Time Trail in the previous years, but with this stupid rule of limiting time difference, Disco might not miss Eki that much.

Jan Ullrich seems to be in form for the Tour. I just don't know if his support by the T-Mobile team members that are GC contenders will affect his chances at the podium. Lance has clearly shown that to compete against him, the rest of the team will have to sacrifice themselves for him. If Jan wants to win, T-Mobile members better have their assignments figured out. T-Mobile have said they will support Jan, but we'll just have to wait and see.

Other contenders; Ivan Basso, Alexandre Vinokourov and Iban Mayo. Post if you know of others to watch out for. It might be a close contest since non of the contenders have over exerted themselves on the pre-tour races, but then again Lance is not comfortable with close races and will try to open up some breathing room.

The route is very interesting this year. Less mountains and shorter distances on the Individual Time Trials. Probably trying to limit Lance's chances, but Johan Bruyneel has proved himself to be quite the strategist.

Discovery Channel and it's other stations are doing some pre-tour coverage:http://team.discovery.com/chasing_7/chasing_7.html
I don't get OLN, so I'm stuck with websites. Eurosport does provide live radio broadcast. I also prefer their live updates over cyclingnews.
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Old 06-27-2005, 11:09 AM
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Can someone explain to a non-Tour enthusiast how these teams work? Iíve heard the extreme basics, which is just that they sacrifice themselves to help the main guy, by blocking wind or things like that. It canít just be blocking wind though... what else do they do? How can they be important? It seems like it should just be a matter of who can bike the distance in the shortest time, wins.
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Old 06-27-2005, 11:21 AM
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OLN has been showing the leadup races on Sunday afternoons. So I got to see most of the main contenders.

Basso looked good in the Giro until he got bit by a stomach bug. He will have the full support of his team and it looks as though Julich might actually be on form for the first time in a number of years. CSC is probably the best team in the world outside of Discovery.

Ullrich won the TT in the Tour de Suisse. But he was unable to match the accelerations in the mountains. He has never been able to do that, but it is his major drawback and Lance knows it. The man can grind up the mountains though and if it weren't for Lance he would probably be considered one the best riders ever. His team won't have to ride for Erik Zabel this year, which is a plus. But they will have Vino high up in the GC. If Ullrich has any hope, Vino will need to sacrifice his body for him.

Mayo has been hiding all season. Have no idea what type of form he is in.

Leipheimer has been riding really well for Garolsteiner this year. But they couldn't protect him in the mountains in the Dauphine. Look for a high finish from him.

Floyd Landis is also a contender for a high finish.

Lance is ramping up his form, he was able to hang onto the lead pack (unlike Ullrich). His team is in fantastic shape. Hincapie looked great in the Dauphine, Salvodelli won the Giro (hopefully he still has great form, because he will be a powerful ally). They have a new young stud - Popovich (or something like that). Plus they still have Acevado and Rubiera. They are the best team in the world and they will lay down and die for Lance.

It will be interesting to see if Lance tries to go wire-to-wire with a time trial at the beginning.
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  #4  
Old 06-27-2005, 11:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drzy
Can someone explain to a non-Tour enthusiast how these teams work? Iíve heard the extreme basics, which is just that they sacrifice themselves to help the main guy, by blocking wind or things like that. It canít just be blocking wind though... what else do they do? How can they be important? It seems like it should just be a matter of who can bike the distance in the shortest time, wins.
Don't underestimate blocking the wind. At 20 mph something like 80% of your energy expenditure is used to over come wind resistance. And these guys are riding a heck of a lot faster than 20 mph.

They also head back and get drinks from the team car, which requires dropping back through the Peloton and then riding back through it, which requires more energy than just holding steady.

There is the Team Time Trial -- good time trialists are required to keep the tempo high.

Then the Mountains, if you are isolated (no teammates) then the attacks from other riders will come fast and furious. Postal/Discovery is the master at setting a brutally hard tempo to drop the group to an elite few to limit the attacks.

If the main contender on the team is hurting or had a crash or mechanical difficulties then the team can help pace him back to the front.
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  #5  
Old 06-27-2005, 11:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by egg
Don't underestimate blocking the wind. At 20 mph something like 80% of your energy expenditure is used to over come wind resistance. And these guys are riding a heck of a lot faster than 20 mph.

They also head back and get drinks from the team car, which requires dropping back through the Peloton and then riding back through it, which requires more energy than just holding steady.

There is the Team Time Trial -- good time trialists are required to keep the tempo high.

Then the Mountains, if you are isolated (no teammates) then the attacks from other riders will come fast and furious. Postal/Discovery is the master at setting a brutally hard tempo to drop the group to an elite few to limit the attacks.

If the main contender on the team is hurting or had a crash or mechanical difficulties then the team can help pace him back to the front.
I was going downhill drafting someone. I was going so much faster than him that I passed him. Then I slowed down due to the wind at my face.

Team members also switch bicycles in lead-guy crashes.

Team members are also on the lookout for breakaways by Tour leaders. Lead guy will sometimes sit safely back in the peloton for the first half of the stage, but he'll have to forge ahead if any Tour leaders decide to gain some ground on him.
I might have to sign up for OLN for the month.
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Old 06-27-2005, 11:58 AM
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4 teams stand above the rest, in Bob's opinion. Discovery, CSC, T-Mobile and Liberty (let's not forget little Roberto Heras).

Gerolsteiner has the pair of Levi and Totschnig, who have both posted high finishes.

If something like the stomach bug hits Basso again, CSC can just as easily ride for Sastre and have a legitimate podium contender. Plus, you know Riis will have his team in top form.

Menchov (Rabobank) won't make a lot of noise, but quietly he'll hang with the GC contenders.

Bob thinks the two-headed (or 3-headed) T-Mobile monster (Vino and Jan + Kloden) poses a real problem for Discovery. Don't underestimate the loss of Eki, who could drive pretty hard on the smaller climbs, and did a ton of grunt work and long pulls in the TTT. Padrnos is no Eki. Expect Hincapie to do most of the Eki type work.

Discovery is going to have to push the pace in the mountains to prevent most of the attacks, or they will find themselves chasing more than they have in the past.

As for Popo, the kid was quietly winning the Volta a Catalunya (also a pro tour race) during the Giro.

Bob's also going to keep an interested eye on Chris Horner (Saunier Duval), not that he'll be a contender, but he did have a pretty convincing mountain stage win, and 5th overall in the Tour de Suisse. It'll be interesting to see how he fares in his first Grand Tour.
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Old 06-27-2005, 12:02 PM
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Bob also prefers cyclingnews for text commentary. Pretty entertaining. During the Giro, they had heart rate monitors on some of the riders. It's amazing how much difference there is between being in the bunch (100-110 bpm) vs. leading the pack or going solo (easily over 160 bpm).
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Old 06-27-2005, 01:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob the Dog
Bob also prefers cyclingnews for text commentary. Pretty entertaining. During the Giro, they had heart rate monitors on some of the riders. It's amazing how much difference there is between being in the bunch (100-110 bpm) vs. leading the pack or going solo (easily over 160 bpm).
Yeah, but we at home could tell that he was bluffing with that 8-7 suited.
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Old 06-27-2005, 01:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob the Dog
4 teams stand above the rest, in Bob's opinion. Discovery, CSC, T-Mobile and Liberty (let's not forget little Roberto Heras).

Gerolsteiner has the pair of Levi and Totschnig, who have both posted high finishes.

If something like the stomach bug hits Basso again, CSC can just as easily ride for Sastre and have a legitimate podium contender. Plus, you know Riis will have his team in top form.

Menchov (Rabobank) won't make a lot of noise, but quietly he'll hang with the GC contenders.

Bob thinks the two-headed (or 3-headed) T-Mobile monster (Vino and Jan + Kloden) poses a real problem for Discovery. Don't underestimate the loss of Eki, who could drive pretty hard on the smaller climbs, and did a ton of grunt work and long pulls in the TTT. Padrnos is no Eki. Expect Hincapie to do most of the Eki type work.

Discovery is going to have to push the pace in the mountains to prevent most of the attacks, or they will find themselves chasing more than they have in the past.

As for Popo, the kid was quietly winning the Volta a Catalunya (also a pro tour race) during the Giro.

Bob's also going to keep an interested eye on Chris Horner (Saunier Duval), not that he'll be a contender, but he did have a pretty convincing mountain stage win, and 5th overall in the Tour de Suisse. It'll be interesting to see how he fares in his first Grand Tour.
Paul and Phil don't think much of Kloden this year. They seem to think he isn't in good form, though he did just win a stage in the Tour of Bavaria, but it was pretty meaningless.

Hincapie is riding better than ever, he won 2 stages in the Dauphine.

I am happy for Horner. He had to be pretty bummed about the US championships, but then he had a good Tour de Suisse. I hope he does well, it will be interesting to see, I don't think he will be near the top though. Maybe he can sneak away for a stage win.
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Old 06-27-2005, 02:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drzy
Can someone explain to a non-Tour enthusiast how these teams work? Iíve heard the extreme basics, which is just that they sacrifice themselves to help the main guy, by blocking wind or things like that. It canít just be blocking wind though... what else do they do? How can they be important? It seems like it should just be a matter of who can bike the distance in the shortest time, wins.
I think the replies have covered the basics of the tasks of the team-members. Teams are build around a specific goal (jersey). These are the jerseys up for grabs:

White: The best young rider. Young being age 25 or younger with the lowest time at the end of the tour.

Polka Dot: This jersey is awarded to the best climber in the race. Several point posts are located on the route. The cyclist with the most points attained wins. Points awarded depends on the level of difficulty of the climb. The climbs range from Category 4 to 1 (1 being the hardest). However, the very hardest category is "hors category" or beyond category. The category of a climb is determined by the steepness and the length of the climb. I read somewhere that in the olden days, the category was determined by the gear a car would use to get through the mountains. Correct me if I'm wrong.

Green: This jersey is given to the points winner of the race. Like the Polka Dot jersey, markers are set up at specific points on each stage and the first few through the marker grabs points. The most points are earned at the end of the stage. This jersey is almost always won by sprint experts. The first few days is the best time to watch the sprinters go at it; all the shoving, pushing, crashing, and the sheer unthinkable speed from human legs.

Yellow: This is awarded to the overall leader of the general classification (GC); the cyclist with the least amount of time at the end.

So, Lance Armstrong brings a blend of specialists for all types of stages to the Tour to make sure he gets the yellow.

The 2005 Tour will cover:
2,254 miles made up of 21 stages with the following profiles:
* 9 flat stages
* 3 medium mountain stages
* 6 mountain stages
* 2 individual time-trial stages
* 1 team time-trial stage
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