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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
velonews.com said:
"It's lucky Jan Ullrich is not here, otherwise the Tour would be over," Discovery Channel team manager Johan Bruyneel told Reuters.

Ok, maybe he isn't bluffing about Disco - maybe they are just too weak to contest a podium spot!
 

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AJL said:
Ok, maybe he isn't bluffing about Disco - maybe they are just too weak to contest a podium spot!
It aint over til the fat lady sings. :8:
The way this bizzaro tour is going ANYTHING can, and will, happen between now and Paris...crashes, mechanicals, illness, drug busts....NO ONE is immune to the fickle hand of fate in this one! :crazy:
The Disco boys still have a chance in this war of attrition.
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hmm, maybe they'll send Popo and Rubiera in a break tomorrow. GH or Paolo would be reeled in too quickly, even though I'd like to see George in a break.

But maybe they'll play it safe and let the attrition decide as you noted.
 

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i think Disco is just dickin around this year. i mean, i heard the team director (Brunyeel?) say in an interview that while Lance was on the team, anything less than first place would have been disastrous. to me, that says that they are expecting not to win this year, and that they don't think they can. seems like kind of a "well, let's see what happens" attitude, if you ask me.

honestly, i'm not real impressed with them this year. so far, i'd say TMobile is closest to being in control of the race.

PS- while we're talking about morale and attitudes, CSC has got to be just about suicidal. their golden boy Basso is implicated in a massive drug bust, so Julich is left as the strongest all-around rider on the team....until he crashes and has to be carried off to the hospital. oh, and O'Grady has a broken back. oh, and Sastre is now the strongest rider, but he's a pure climber stuck in a Tour that's made for TTists. well, at least maybe Sastre or Voigt or Zabriskie can pull off a stage win (in the mtns, breaks, or TTs, respectively.)
 

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AJL said:
Ok, maybe he isn't bluffing about Disco - maybe they are just too weak to contest a podium spot!
It's too soon to know that for sure... all of the "contenders" are within 90 seconds of each other on GC - not insurmountalbe by any means. Heck, if anyone on the top of the GC has a bad day in the mountains (a la Floyd on the Ventoux), even Levi might be able to make up his 6'.

We won't really know anything until after the first day in the mountains.
 

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Levi is very much still in the Tour, his director's stupid comments notwithstanding. Levi's about five minutes down to everyone who matters. Landis is in good position, but he has not shown yet that he can climb with in the best in the high mountains on consecutive days. His wins this year have come in races with 1 or 2 fairly tough mountain stages, and he's been able to ride them defensively because of his ITT's. Can he defend for two weeks? Will his hip hold up? Remember that the last time he rode competitively in the French high mountains, he was crushed. Levi put 9+ minutes into him on Ventoux (though Landis clearly let up at some point on that climb).

Guys like Hincapie and Salvodelli and Menchov and Evans are still very much in it. Hincapie needs for Landis to faulter, to stick on the wheels of Evans and Menchov in the mountains, then to ride a ITT like he's capable of riding. He can put significant time into those two guys on a good day. More likely, though, he's fighting for a third podium spot.

Levi, unlike George, can ride away in the high mountains and take minutes back, if he can find his form. I could see Levi and Mayo or Cunego attacking in the mountains and taking a few minutes back. Unlike a Mayo or Cunego, Levi can TT well, so he still has a chance if he can launch a couple Armstrong-type attacks in the mountains. The field turned upside down on Saturday, and that could happen a couple more times without any real dominant riders. Levi will have to find it in a hurry, though.
 

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Levi could come back some, but too many guys ahead of him have to go backward to believe his chances for the podium are significant.
 

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Levi would have to get those 5 minutes back in the mountains

and then have a good final TT. He's not going to get that kind of lead and I just don't see him that much faster on the climbs. IMHO that TT killed his chances. Floyd is sitting well, as is Paolo. I'm expecting if he and a couple teammates get over the final climb they'll attack like a TTT into Pau. If George, PS and Popo get over in the lead group watch out.
Otherwise they'll launch PS and George and Popo will mark but if those 3 can work together using PS's descending and then GH's dieseling could be interesting.
 

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atpjunkie said:
and then have a good final TT. He's not going to get that kind of lead and I just don't see him that much faster on the climbs. IMHO that TT killed his chances. Floyd is sitting well, as is Paolo. I'm expecting if he and a couple teammates get over the final climb they'll attack like a TTT into Pau. If George, PS and Popo get over in the lead group watch out.
Otherwise they'll launch PS and George and Popo will mark but if those 3 can work together using PS's descending and then GH's dieseling could be interesting.
Yup...he's just not explosive enough on the climbs to drop other top 3 threats. And if he does they'll likely play time mgmt on his break. He would need the "TT of a lifetime" on July 22.
 

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harlond said:
Levi could come back some, but too many guys ahead of him have to go backward to believe his chances for the podium are significant.
Levi might as well pack and go home. Maybe he can go for a stage win, except he is not an explosive climber.

Tour is over for Hincapie also. His only chance was a solid performance in time trial, and he blew it.

If Ullrich was still in the Tour, which he is not, the Tour would be over by now.
 
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I don't think anyone can, or is willing, to follow 'il Falco' down the decents - not even his own team mates. Heck, in the Giro, even motorcycles backed off and gave up following him!!

In anycase, stages 10&11 should tell us if disco has any chance at all.
 

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I don't think George had "a bad day" in the ITT. Have you seen interviews with him? I think in trying to get into climbing shape this year, he's lost too much weight, and subsequently lost muscle power such that he can no longer crank the same watts in a TT that he could earlier in the year. And during the tour, I don't think he can easily recover. I'd be willing to bet that he's at the lowest weight of his racing career right now, and it will only get lower as the tour goes on. I think his goose is cooked.

As for Levi, I'm more inclined to think that he did have a bad day, and may be able to come back and ride well, but I think he may be so far down that he simply will run out of road before getting a chance to catch up.

My only concern with Floyd is that he may not have the team to be able to help him beat T-Mobile.

While I'll still be pulling for Floyd, I think that Kloden has the best shot of anybody right now. Cadel and Karpets are also contenders...
 

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ChilliConCarnage said:
I don't think George had "a bad day" in the ITT. Have you seen interviews with him? I think in trying to get into climbing shape this year, he's lost too much weight, and subsequently lost muscle power such that he can no longer crank the same watts in a TT that he could earlier in the year. And during the tour, I don't think he can easily recover. I'd be willing to bet that he's at the lowest weight of his racing career right now, and it will only get lower as the tour goes on. I think his goose is cooked.
If he's losing weight while training, his wattage should not decline. It would only decline if he's backed off training. If he's following his former teammate's gameplan to win the Tour, he hasn't done that in June.

It looked like George started a little too strong in the TT. In an interview on paceline.com, Bruyneel says that he had to keep telling George to slow up in the first K's. He's always been a little better in prologues and short TT's than in longer efforts. That's the former sprinter in him.
 

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soulsurfer104 said:
honestly, i'm not real impressed with them this year. so far, i'd say TMobile is closest to being in control of the race.
You haven't been paying attention. Disco had the best Team standings until stage 7. The ITT was a big disappointment. The race is just getting started. Things will sort themselves out real soon.
 

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cyclodawg said:
If he's losing weight while training, his wattage should not decline. It would only decline if he's backed off training. If he's following his former teammate's gameplan to win the Tour, he hasn't done that in June.

It looked like George started a little too strong in the TT. In an interview on paceline.com, Bruyneel says that he had to keep telling George to slow up in the first K's. He's always been a little better in prologues and short TT's than in longer efforts. That's the former sprinter in him.
Well, if that weight lost is in the form of muscle then he can certainly lose power. Have you ever tried to lose weight and build power at the same time? It's a fine line to walk, and most of the time it doesn't work.

One needs only to look at Ullrich in the last couple of Tours for evidence of that.

George is skinny... lightest of his career. I read somewhere that he weighed in at 158 lbs... at 6'3", that's downright anorexic. I watched some of the "race 2 replace" podcasts, and in one of them he had his shirt off.... he looked like a skeleton w/skin hanging off of it.
 

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James OCLV said:
Well, if that weight lost is in the form of muscle then he can certainly lose power. Have you ever tried to lose weight and build power at the same time? It's a fine line to walk, and most of the time it doesn't work.

One needs only to look at Ullrich in the last couple of Tours for evidence of that.

George is skinny... lightest of his career. I read somewhere that he weighed in at 158 lbs... at 6'3", that's downright anorexic. I watched some of the "race 2 replace" podcasts, and in one of them he had his shirt off.... he looked like a skeleton w/skin hanging off of it.
Cyclists do it all the time (lose weight while maintaining power). The key is to keep the relevant lower-body muscle and lose everything else. It's possible for a classics rider like George to drop 10-15 lbs of fat and muscle from elsewhere and still maintain power. Climbing in the mountains isn't as much about power as it is about cardio anyway. Ever see Danielson's (or a Spanish climber's) legs? They're toothpicks. It's hard to believe Danielson (or Basso, for that matter) TT's the way he does.

He might well have lost some TT power in losing weight over the last month. That could be a good explanation for his performance. But if he did, it was a mistake in training; I think he could hit 158 without sacrificing TT power. I've heard he's 170-175 for the classics, so 158 is not that much of a drop.

As for Ullrich, his problem has not been in his TTing or his power.
 

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cyclodawg said:
Cyclists do it all the time (lose weight while maintaining power). The key is to keep the relevant lower-body muscle and lose everything else. It's possible for a classics rider like George to drop 10-15 lbs of fat and muscle from elsewhere and still maintain power. Climbing in the mountains isn't as much about power as it is about cardio anyway. Ever see Danielson's (or a Spanish climber's) legs? They're toothpicks. It's hard to believe Danielson (or Basso, for that matter) TT's the way he does.

He might well have lost some TT power in losing weight over the last month. That could be a good explanation for his performance. But if he did, it was a mistake in training; I think he could hit 158 without sacrificing TT power. I've heard he's 170-175 for the classics, so 158 is not that much of a drop.

As for Ullrich, his problem has not been in his TTing or his power.
Yeah, like whom? You make it sound like it's an easy thing to do... I know that for me personally, I'm 5'8" and when my body weight dips below say.... 140 lbs, my power output goes in the crapper.

I'm not sure what you mean by "Climbing in the mountains isn't as much about power as it is about cardio anyway"... Climbing is 100% about the rider's power to weight ratio. Also, at 6'3" 170-175 lbs, do you think that George was really carrying 10-15 lbs of fat?

And, IMHO Ullrich's "problems" over the past few years were directly related to trying to lose weight too quickly.
 

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cyclodawg said:
He might well have lost some TT power in losing weight over the last month. That could be a good explanation for his performance. But if he did, it was a mistake in training; I think he could hit 158 without sacrificing TT power. I've heard he's 170-175 for the classics, so 158 is not that much of a drop.
That's what I said - I think his training was thrown off this year by his change in goals. Perhaps he felt as though he could reach a certain weight and maintain power, but I believe that he probably went below his target (dieting can become an obsessive-compulsive behavior, just ask any other anorexic), or his target was not realistic. I know form personal experience that there is a threshold that you reach where your body is in ketosis and simply cannot find enough fat to provide energy, so your body cannabilizes muscle tissue. If George honestly runs near 175 for the classics (and I certainly wouldn't call him fat at that weight), and dropped almost 20 pounds at the start of the tour, that IS a lot of weight to drop, and could easily be eating into his muscle stores.
 

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ChilliConCarnage said:
That's what I said - I think his training was thrown off this year by his change in goals. Perhaps he felt as though he could reach a certain weight and maintain power, but I believe that he probably went below his target (dieting can become an obsessive-compulsive behavior, just ask any other anorexic), or his target was not realistic. I know form personal experience that there is a threshold that you reach where your body is in ketosis and simply cannot find enough fat to provide energy, so your body cannabilizes muscle tissue. If George honestly runs near 175 for the classics (and I certainly wouldn't call him fat at that weight), and dropped almost 20 pounds at the start of the tour, that IS a lot of weight to drop, and could easily be eating into his muscle stores.
Well, I think that he's been droping weight over the past couple of years... but I remember reading about a month ago that he's at the lightest of his career. However, what doesn't make sense to me regarding his loss of power is that he had a strong prologue. What seems more likely is that he started out too hard in the TT and faded...
 

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James OCLV said:
Yeah, like whom? You make it sound like it's an easy thing to do... I know that for me personally, I'm 5'8" and when my body weight dips below say.... 140 lbs, my power output goes in the crapper.
It's not an easy thing to do, particularly when it's not part of your profession. But when you don't have anything to worry about for a month other than maintain power and lose weight, it's certainly do-able. And if George were losing power with weight, his performance in training would have shown it and he probably would have backed off. Remember that he's working with people who have turned pre-Tour training into a science. It's hard to imagine them making that type of mistake with a guy they were hoping to give them a high GC placing.

I'm not sure what you mean by "Climbing in the mountains isn't as much about power as it is about cardio anyway"... Climbing is 100% about the rider's power to weight ratio. Also, at 6'3" 170-175 lbs, do you think that George was really carrying 10-15 lbs of fat?
Climbing is about weight and power, but also about aerobic ability and lactate clearance. Moreso the latter, I think. Guys crack in the high mountains when they hit their aerobic max and can't go any faster or harder. Weight definitely plays into that, but a lot of great climbers don't exactly light up the power meters.

George, in the classics, is probably carrying 5-10 pounds of fat that he can lose and about 5-10 pounds of muscle in his arms and legs that he can lose and still maintain the same power output in the mountains. There is a threshold, obviously, but I don't think 158 is too low for George. I'm the same height, 180 lbs, and I lift weights upperbody and do sprinting drills. Cut out the lifting and the sprinting, and I probably could see dropping that low without sacrificing much in climbing or TTing.
 
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