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Help me to understand because maybe I'm missing something, but let me be blunt: Why is this team in the ProTour, or since the ProTour is pretty much dead, why do they consistently compete at the highest level of the sport? I was looking through the Palmares of their riders, I have to say, it's not all that impressive for a team that is supposed to be in the highest echelon of the sport. If I'm not mistaken, there is exactly one Classics win amongst the entire roster (Clasica San Sebastien), and Thomas Voelckler, who I presume is the team leader, outside of wearing the yellow jersey for 10 days in 2004 - which isn't insignificant - really hasn't done all that much.

They don't win stages, they don't win one day races, and they definitely don't compete for GC. What is their function? Every single wildcard team in the tour, is way better then they are. I don't think it's even close. It's not even knock on French cycling because every single French team in the Tour is significantly better, including Agritubel.

Is it a budget thing? If it is, why are they allowed to compete at the highest level of the sport? Aren't they better suited to compete as a Continental Team?

I honestly don't understand as I feel, based on their results, that a bunch of other teams are much better suited to take their place as they clearly don't deserve to compete at the sport's highest level, save as a wildcard for some races. They just don't bring anything at all to the table.

A lot of guys know better than me so I ask: Why should Bouygues Telecom be with the big boys of the sport? Let me add that I don't think these guys are bad riders - on the contrary, I think all of us would give an appendage to be as good as any of them and collect a pro check, ride a bike for a living, and race in the biggest races around the world - I'm strictly comparing them to other top Pro teams and their abilities to race and win compared to other pros. It just seems like they are taking the place of a more deserving team.

Thanks.
 

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ziggurat22 said:
Help me to understand because maybe I'm missing something, but let me be blunt: Why is this team in the ProTour, or since the ProTour is pretty much dead, why do they consistently compete at the highest level of the sport? I was looking through the Palmares of their riders, I have to say, it's not all that impressive for a team that is supposed to be in the highest echelon of the sport. If I'm not mistaken, there is exactly one Classics win amongst the entire roster (Clasica San Sebastien), and Thomas Voelckler, who I presume is the team leader, outside of wearing the yellow jersey for 10 days in 2004 - which isn't insignificant - really hasn't done all that much.

They don't win stages, they don't win one day races, and they definitely don't compete for GC. What is their function? Every single wildcard team in the tour, is way better then they are. I don't think it's even close. It's not even knock on French cycling because every single French team in the Tour is significantly better, including Agritubel.

Is it a budget thing? If it is, why are they allowed to compete at the highest level of the sport? Aren't they better suited to compete as a Continental Team?

I honestly don't understand as I feel, based on their results, that a bunch of other teams are much better suited to take their place as they clearly don't deserve to compete at the sport's highest level, save as a wildcard for some races. They just don't bring anything at all to the table.

A lot of guys know better than me so I ask: Why should Bouygues Telecom be with the big boys of the sport? Let me add that I don't think these guys are bad riders - on the contrary, I think all of us would give an appendage to be as good as any of them and collect a pro check, ride a bike for a living, and race in the biggest races around the world - I'm strictly comparing them to other top Pro teams and their abilities to race and win compared to other pros. It just seems like they are taking the place of a more deserving team.

Thanks.
I don't know if it's for their sponsor. When they were Brioches La Boulangere, I went up to DS Jean-Rene Bernaudeau before a stage of the Criterium International to ask him where I could buy some of these brioches (no one I knew had ever observed one in a store) and he had a hard time citing a place, the best he could do was saying he thought that they were sold at the Leclerc chain. I don't know how much Bouygues is profiting from the team either. All I know is that this phone service doesn't have very good agreements with the US, so if you take your cell phone to North America you won't be able to use it unless you're in New York City.

I was wondering about their team cohesion at the French national championships 3 years ago when Laurent Brochard was in a long break and his Bouygues teammate Pierrick Fedrigo chased him down and passed him on a climb without even turning to look at him. To make this worse, this was during the Armstrong era where French fans were particularly critical of how Armstrong would sallow up early lone breakaways on long climbs without acknowledging them. It looks like the younger guys didn't particularly appreciate Brochard, who changed teams the next year.

On the other hand, I saw a documentary about the team in the 2004 Tour (where Voeckler wore yellow for days) and Voeckler is actually quite a funny guy. He was imitating his mother who has no clue about cycling and called him from Guadeloupe all excited: "Congratulations dear for your winning the race of the yellow jersey!" Bernaudeau also seems to be an OK guy, he's a bike nerd and when he talks about his bikes on TV he gets all excited about the components. When two of his riders were the winning break in the French championships one year he burst into tears with happiness before the finish. If I remember correctly, his claim to fame as a rider was breaking his derailleur when in the winning two up break with Hennie Kuiper right before the finish of Alpe d'Huez.

-ilan
 

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ziggurat22 said:
Thomas Voelckler, who I presume is the team leader, outside of wearing the yellow jersey for 10 days in 2004 - which isn't insignificant - really hasn't done all that much.
Voeckler has had some very good results, especially last year. He won the GP of Plouay which is very close to Pro Tour level (I believe it a ProTour race for a while) and other similar races.

-ilan
 

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I was wondering why Milram received the same consideration. The whole team seems to work only for Zabel who I like but is past his prime. Seems like a waste of space. Sucks for McEwen who is a great sprinter but no team to help him.
 

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tron said:
I was wondering why Milram received the same consideration. The whole team seems to work only for Zabel who I like but is past his prime. Seems like a waste of space. Sucks for McEwen who is a great sprinter but no team to help him.
Well, Milram had Petacchi before, not the same caliber as Voeckler... Now Milram seems lost a bit since Petacchi got busted (although he was getting slower in recent years even before his bust).
 

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Voeckler is the biggest showboat ever. Whenever a camera comes up to him: he starts acting like he is suffering, gesturing to other riders to pick up the pace, hanging his tongue out...etc. It's nothing but an act and the french eat it up. The 10 days in yellow was a fluke as he was allowed to go up the road. To claim his 10 days in yellow as an accomplishment is wrong. He was known as the least threat of all in the breakaway and peloton so Postal and the other contending teams allowed him to have it. Pure luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
ilan said:
Voeckler has had some very good results, especially last year. He won the GP of Plouay which is very close to Pro Tour level (I believe it a ProTour race for a while) and other similar races.

-ilan
Thanks for the insight ilan, with both posts.

I certainly don't doubt the passion of the team's riders or BT's DS, and Voeckler has had some decent results. It's more a question of is it enough to hang with big boys; does it justify their existence in the highest echelon of the sport?

I just don't think they deserve to be there right now, IMO. If it is the sponsor and it's insistence on staying at the top while kicking in as little money as possible, then I think that is wrong for the team, the riders, and their fans. They should be relegated by whatever federation if the sponsor is not willing to make the necessary financial commitment for the team to be at least competitive.
 

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dagger said:
Voeckler is the biggest showboat ever. Whenever a camera comes up to him: he starts acting like he is suffering, gesturing to other riders to pick up the pace, hanging his tongue out...etc. It's nothing but an act and the french eat it up. The 10 days in yellow was a fluke as he was allowed to go up the road. To claim his 10 days in yellow as an accomplishment is wrong. He was known as the least threat of all in the breakaway and peloton so Postal and the other contending teams allowed him to have it. Pure luck.
LMAO. Ten days in yellow no accomplishment?

Wait, LMAO again. Seriously, dude, it's puff, puff, GIVE.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
roadie92 said:
Well Zabel might not be the best any more but he is still very consistant.
Milram, despite it's lack of results, has shown more results than Bouygues Telecom. Plus Zabel, at 36, could decimate anyone on Bouygues Telecom. Not to mention that Petacchi has won numerous stages in the Giro and the Vuelta and has picked a points jersey in the Giro since Milram has been around.
 

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Voeckler's 10 days in yellow may have been a fluke. But it sure turned him from a nobody into someone we now know. He fought with all he had to keep the yellow as long as he did. That may not have been anywhere near as much as a top level rider, but it was all he had. I enjoied watching it and have enjoied watching him since.
 

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I thought Voeckler did the jersey a great honor by defending it the way he did. He knew he would lose it, but wasn't going to simply hand it over to Lance. While he may not have a moment in his career quite like those 10 days in yellow (nearly half of the race if you think about it), he can certainly look back on that with pride. Whether or not it was luck is irrelevant, the record books will always list him as a wearer off the yellow jersey for 10 days.

Voeckler notwithstanding, does anyone else care to weigh in on my original question? Why Bouguyes Telecom?
 

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yellow may be an "acomplishment" but does not, necessarily, say anything about your relative abilities. I suspect the folks on this forum could come with 100 riders better than Thomas that never "wore" a yellow colored jersey. Ya know, I had the same BT question about Euskatel. It seems that I never even see these guys until the tour each year? Astarloza, Sanchez, I guess they are better than BT and Milram though. I guess the question is, if ya took out BT, who goes in thats better?
Did someone suggest that "Patacchi was not the same caliber as Voekler" ? I dont like Patacchi but the guy wins races like a bodily function!
 

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FondriestFan said:
LMAO. Ten days in yellow no accomplishment?

Wait, LMAO again. Seriously, dude, it's puff, puff, GIVE.
Did you mean Puff, Puff, Here, and pass it around?

Yes...It was something to have the jersey for 10 days but it's not like he had the jersey because he is a bad ass on the bike. The topic is about the quality of the Bouyagues team and his only skill is the spamming of the cameras.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
bigmig19 said:
yellow may be an "acomplishment" but does not, necessarily, say anything about your relative abilities. I suspect the folks on this forum could come with 100 riders better than Thomas that never "wore" a yellow colored jersey. Ya know, I had the same BT question about Euskatel. It seems that I never even see these guys until the tour each year? Astarloza, Sanchez, I guess they are better than BT and Milram though. I guess the question is, if ya took out BT, who goes in thats better?
Did someone suggest that "Patacchi was not the same caliber as Voekler" ? I dont like Patacchi but the guy wins races like a bodily function!
Just giving the guy some props. Yes, there are probably a zillion other riders better than he who haven't worn a jersey. I didn't want to basically create post to disparage BT and not give them SOME props.

Re: BT, off the top of my head, you could replace them with Garmin-Chipotle or Barloworld and it would be an instant upgrade.

I think the poster that mentioned Petacchi was being sarcastic. He had to be.
 

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jd3 said:
Voeckler's 10 days in yellow may have been a fluke. But it sure turned him from a nobody into someone we now know. He fought with all he had to keep the yellow as long as he did. That may not have been anywhere near as much as a top level rider, but it was all he had. I enjoied watching it and have enjoied watching him since.
Not only that, he was very modest while he had the yellow jersey. He basically talked himself hoarse explaining to all the idiot French reporters that he was not the favorite to keep it to the end and that Armstrong could take it back anytime he wanted. His yo-yoing off the back on climbs was continually cited by French TV commentator Bernard Thevenet as being stupid, though he finally said that apparently, that was the way Voeckler had to ride since he would eventually stay on, even on the hardest climbs. He made a Herculean effort to keep the jersey an extra day, which was applauded by observers from all nationalities.

I remember walking around Paris at the time and hearing two middle aged Frenchmen talking about the Tour and one saying what really interested them was that this French youngster was in the lead. Just to tell you what nightmare it can be living in France, though I'm sure similar interest in one's countrymen is true in every country (e.g., the current interest here in Van Develde).

-ilan
 
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