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imbasilical moreon
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well, it was fun reading all the comments and speculation, but:

JOHAN BRUYNEEL LEANING TOWARD GEORGE HINCAPIE AS HIS TEAM LEADER: After the Discovery rider wore the yellow jersey early on. "George is definitely one of our top guys. He can finish high overall. He is the best of our riders in the time trials so I think he is going to be our top guy after the time trial in Rennes (on Saturday)."

BRUYNEEL ALL BUT RULING OUT YAROSLAV POPOVYCH: The Discovery team leader has three other possible guys who could take control in the mountains. "Popovych is excellent but he is not experienced. We do not want to put too much pressure on him. As for Savoldelli, he is not too bad in the time trials but the Tour de France is not the same thing as the Giro. Azevedo is a very good climber."



edit: from eurosport live commentary
 

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kpcw said:
Right now Team Disco is riding and the team has not designated a sole leader, defined one specific purpose. I understand the spin as to why they're doing this. I also believe that they will not have a winner in Paris, wearing yellow and when that occurs, the spin will be, "We should have chosen someone on our team as the leader and supported him to Paris..."
I can't help but wonder how much of it is marketing. Hincapie is the only american on american-based team, is it any surprise he is hyped by Bruneel? Actually, Hincapie was mentioned as Disco leader during team selection in May or early June.

In terms of riding for GC in grand tours, Popo has more experience than anyone on Disco team - he rode really well in Giro for several years, as well as in Tour last year in support of Armstrong. But I have no idea what his form is like. But why would Bruneel diss him as "inexperienced"? So that others don't chase Popo down if he goes up the mountain? (He is not a GC threat, he is too inexperienced) Is Bruneel sincere or is he playing mind games?

Hincapie should be the top Disco after ITT, but he will also get seriously dropped on at least one of the three mountain stages towards the end. I can't see him as top Disco rider in the end, and I have troubles seeing him on the podium, but we shall see.
 

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55x11 said:
I can't help but wonder how much of it is marketing. Hincapie is the only American on American-based team, is it any surprise he is hyped by Bruneel? Actually, Hincapie was mentioned as Disco leader during team selection in May or early June.

In terms of riding for GC in grand tours, Popo has more experience than anyone on Disco team - he rode really well in Giro for several years, as well as in Tour last year in support of Armstrong. But I have no idea what his form is like. But why would Bruneel diss him as "inexperienced"? So that others don't chase Popo down if he goes up the mountain? (He is not a GC threat, he is too inexperienced) Is Bruneel sincere or is he playing mind games?

Hincapie should be the top Disco after ITT, but he will also get seriously dropped on at least one of the three mountain stages to wards the end. I can't see him as top Disco rider in the end, and I have troubles seeing him on the podium, but we shall see.

It makes you wonder how much of a say Discovery Channel has in selecting the team leader. They may be putting pressure on JB to select an American to lead the team so they can sell the race to the American public.

I also have to wonder how much George's training changed when Lance left the team. He has changed his riding style a lot over the years and is much more of a GC rider these days than any time in the past. Sounds like he has been training to be a GC rider and wants to be the team leader.

In some ways I can see him riding a lot like Ullrich. Ullrich was never a break away climber, he would just motor along and try and stay with the pack or slowly ride away from others. He was bigger than other natural climbers and in many ways, George is a lot like him these days. Jan is still better, no doubt, but I think George has modeled his riding style after Jan a lot over the past year or two.

Should be interesting to watch at least.
 

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seems too dumb for Johann

why would he want to play his hand so early? why not keep the peloton guessing? I think there's more going on. Maybe he's just trying to take the pressure off of Popo. Maybe a bluff. Personally I hope they don't go too Americentric as if they do they may lose Popo to a team that will give him his due. Unless Popo is on a clear development schedule. I'd hate for them to lose him a la Boonen. Transfer season will be the key. I see Floyd returning to Disco if they don't have a GC hopeful.
 

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atpjunkie said:
Transfer season will be the key. I see Floyd returning to Disco if they don't have a GC hopeful.
didn't they already try to re-sign him at the end of last season?
 

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yes but he would have stiull been a worker

his situation had soured and now since Phonak terminates its contract at the end of this season it just seems he will be recruited as the 'next big American' in which case he'll probably try to get Zabriskie to come as well.
 

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For what it's worth...

http://au.sports.yahoo.com/060706/3/shby.html

Cycling-Hincapie poised to take leader's role at Discovery team

CAEN, France, July 6 (Reuters) - American George Hincapie is poised to take the leader's role in the Discovery Channel team at the Tour de France.

"George is definitely one of our top guys," team manager Johan Bruyneel told reporters before the start of the 225-km fifth stage between Beauvais and Caen on Thursday.

"He can finish high overall. He is the best of our riders in the time trials so I think he is going to be our top guy after the time trial in Rennes (on Saturday)."

The American team are competing in their first Tour de France without Lance Armstrong after the Texan retired following his seventh victory.

Hincapie, third in the overall standings with a five-second deficit on leader Tom Boonen of Belgium, was Armstrong's faithful lieutenant in his friend's seven victorious campaigns on the French roads from 1999 to 2005.

Bruyneel hinted former Giro d'Italia winner Paolo Savoldelli, Portuguese Jose Azevedo and Yaroslav Popovych would be perfect to help out Hincapie.

The Belgian ruled out the Ukrainian youngster as a possible team leader.

"Popovych is excellent but he is not experienced. We do not want to put too much pressure on him," said Bruyneel.

"As for Savoldelli, he is not too bad in the time trials but the Tour de France is not the same thing as the Giro.

"Azevedo is a very good climber."
 

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atpjunkie said:
why would he want to play his hand so early? why not keep the peloton guessing? I think there's more going on. Maybe he's just trying to take the pressure off of Popo. Maybe a bluff. Personally I hope they don't go too Americentric as if they do they may lose Popo to a team that will give him his due. Unless Popo is on a clear development schedule. I'd hate for them to lose him a la Boonen. Transfer season will be the key. I see Floyd returning to Disco if they don't have a GC hopeful.
Popovych has not yet shown that he's ready to be a GC contender. He doesn't yet TT with the other GC favorites, and he doesn't climb well enough yet to put gaps on GC favorites. Right now, I'd take Danielson over Popo if I had to choose a GC guy between the two. Danielson is a little better in a TT and a little better in the high mountains (though, like Popo, maybe not quite ready to stand on the podium of a grant tour--though he is second in the Tour of Austria as we speak). I certainly would go with Hincapie or Falco over Popo right now. Popo probably has the highest ceiling of all those guys and is more like Lance as a rider than anyone on Disco, but he's not there yet, and I'm sure he realizes that. He hasn't yet made a case for himself (with his results) as a top GC guy.

I think Leipheimer's probably more likely to return to Disco than Floyd, just because of the circumstances under which those guys left, but I don't see either returning.

Hincapie is the leader, and that has been the case since before the Dauphine. Bruyneel's slowness in announcing it (and the way they distributed numbers this year--alphabetically--rather than giving George #1) is probably meant to reduce the pressure on George. The question is whether George has the killer instinct he needs in the mountains and in that last TT.
 

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You would think you would learn by now....

especially with Lance still being involved in tactics. His object has been to play dead until he really needs to shin then blows the doors off everyone leaving it very difficult to catch up. It would not suprise me if they now put the focus on Hincape so everyones focuse is now on him and let one of the other Discovery "contenders" take some breaks in the hills leaving Hincape with the "other GC contenders" and see if they can get away for some time toward the GC. Possibly they have no intention with Hincape, just another ploy that Lance has been using for years. They all seem to work!

Just a thought

KMan
 

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cyclodawg said:
Popovych has not yet shown that he's ready to be a GC contender.
Didn't he finish 3rd at the Giro a couple of year's ago?

Edit: I looked it up: 3rd in 2003, 5th in 2004.

Those are better results than almost everyone else you mention, considerably higher then the likes of Hincapie or Danielson or Landis even (best finish in a GT 9th in last year's Tour?).
 

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cyclodawg said:
Popovych has not yet shown that he's ready to be a GC contender. He doesn't yet TT with the other GC favorites, and he doesn't climb well enough yet to put gaps on GC favorites. Right now, I'd take Danielson over Popo if I had to choose a GC guy between the two. Danielson is a little better in a TT and a little better in the high mountains (though, like Popo, maybe not quite ready to stand on the podium of a grant tour--though he is second in the Tour of Austria as we speak). I certainly would go with Hincapie or Falco over Popo right now. Popo probably has the highest ceiling of all those guys and is more like Lance as a rider than anyone on Disco, but he's not there yet, and I'm sure he realizes that. He hasn't yet made a case for himself (with his results) as a top GC guy.

I think Leipheimer's probably more likely to return to Disco than Floyd, just because of the circumstances under which those guys left, but I don't see either returning.

Hincapie is the leader, and that has been the case since before the Dauphine. Bruyneel's slowness in announcing it (and the way they distributed numbers this year--alphabetically--rather than giving George #1) is probably meant to reduce the pressure on George. The question is whether George has the killer instinct he needs in the mountains and in that last TT.
funny to read quotes from Hincapie in June 8th interview:

“There are quite a few contenders this year - Ullrich, obviously, and Basso,” he says. “Vinokourov, Floyd Landis, Levi Leipheimer, Mancebo, Valverde, too. And hopefully I can throw my name in there, into that group.”

Re-write as of now: "There are quite a few contenders this year... Floyd Landis, Levi Leipheimer... And hopefully I can throw my name in there, into that group."

I hope you are joking about Danielson being better than Popovych. For one thing, Popovych is 2 years younger. More importantly, Popovych won races in Europe, and was on podium GC in Giro where he was also in pink for some time, won white in TdF and was under-23 world champ. Danielson has yet to win a European race.
 

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Dwayne Barry said:
Didn't he finish 3rd at the Giro a couple of year's ago?

Edit: I looked it up: 3rd in 2003, 5th in 2004.

Those are better results than almost everyone else you mention, considerably higher then the likes of Hincapie or Danielson or Landis even (best finish in a GT 9th in last year's Tour?).
Didn't Kloden finish second or third in the Tour two years ago? Is anyone giving him a chance this year? He might not even be T-Mobile's guy with Ullrich gone. Or Raimondas Rumsas, third in 2002? What matters is how well you're riding now, not what you've done before.

And, like Bruyneel said in reference to Salvodelli, this is the Tour, not the Giro. In two years, I think Popo's best results have been the #3 in Georgia and a top 20 in the Tour last year. He consistently loses a half-minute or more in 40 K TT's. Until he changes that, he's not a GC contender in a race like the Tour.
 

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55x11 said:
funny to read quotes from Hincapie in June 8th interview:

“There are quite a few contenders this year - Ullrich, obviously, and Basso,” he says. “Vinokourov, Floyd Landis, Levi Leipheimer, Mancebo, Valverde, too. And hopefully I can throw my name in there, into that group.”

Re-write as of now: "There are quite a few contenders this year... Floyd Landis, Levi Leipheimer... And hopefully I can throw my name in there, into that group."
Lance did the same thing every year. To hear him talk pre-Tour, you'd wonder if he had the legs to finish 21 stages.

I hope you are joking about Danielson being better than Popovych. For one thing, Popovych is 2 years younger. More importantly, Popovych won races in Europe, and was on podium GC in Giro where he was also in pink for some time, won white in TdF and was under-23 world champ. Danielson has yet to win a European race.
He wore white last Tour only because Valverde left the race. Right now, at this moment, I would take Danielson because he TT's better than Popo (see the Tour de Georgia this year) and climbs just as well. Will that be the case in two years? Maybe not. Popo seems like he has the legs of a good TTist and has shown in Italy that he can climb. Danielson has not yet won a European race only because he hasn't raced in Europe very much yet. It's only his 3rd year on the roads.
 

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cyclodawg said:
Didn't Kloden finish second or third in the Tour two years ago? Is anyone giving him a chance this year? He might not even be T-Mobile's guy with Ullrich gone. Or Raimondas Rumsas, third in 2002? What matters is how well you're riding now, not what you've done before.

And, like Bruyneel said in reference to Salvodelli, this is the Tour, not the Giro. In two years, I think Popo's best results have been the #3 in Georgia and a top 20 in the Tour last year. He consistently loses a half-minute or more in 40 K TT's. Until he changes that, he's not a GC contender in a race like the Tour.
Popo was riding in support of Danielson at TdG. Just like Armstrong did in 2005, when he finished 5th.

Kloden has a solid shot. It's more the fact that he's done nothing before or after that makes me think it was a fluke. Rumsas would too, if he wasn't busted for doping. :)
Popo getting white jersey and 12th while riding in support of Armstrong is pretty impressive - far more impressive to me than Danielson's 10th place in Vuelta.

Placing 3rd in Giro at 23 means you got talent - I wouldn't write him off just yet. I believe quiet season is by Bruneel's design, so we'll see. And what did Danielson get in Giro, by comparison, I forget?... :rolleyes:
 

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Hincapie can use a strategy similar to Indurain - do very well in the TT's and good enough just to not get dropped in the mountains.

Right now, he's TT'ing with the best. He didn't get killed on the Ventoux in the Dauphine, either... so we'll see. It's still a big question mark.
 

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cyclodawg said:
Lance did the same thing every year. To hear him talk pre-Tour, you'd wonder if he had the legs to finish 21 stages.



He wore white last Tour only because Valverde left the race. Right now, at this moment, I would take Danielson because he TT's better than Popo (see the Tour de Georgia this year) and climbs just as well. Will that be the case in two years? Maybe not. Popo seems like he has the legs of a good TTist and has shown in Italy that he can climb. Danielson has not yet won a European race only because he hasn't raced in Europe very much yet. It's only his 3rd year on the roads.
We'll see, but I think you are severly americano-biased. Danielson and Hincapie are not as good climbers as you think. And Popo is a better time-trialist than Danielson - he time-trialed on-par with Honchar and McGee at Giro. Tour of Georgia is not a good indicator by any means, as it's a relatively low-key race and they had different agenda there.

Also - losing half-a-minute in 40K time trial to the winner is a no biggie for a solid climber. If it's 2+ minutes, then one should get worried.
 

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55x11 said:
Popo was riding in support of Danielson at TdG. Just like Armstrong did in 2005, when he finished 5th.

Kloden has a solid shot. It's more the fact that he's done nothing before or after that makes me think it was a fluke. Rumsas would too, if he wasn't busted for doping. :)
Popo getting white jersey and 12th while riding in support of Armstrong is pretty impressive - far more impressive to me than Danielson's 10th place in Vuelta.

Placing 3rd in Giro at 23 means you got talent - I wouldn't write him off just yet. I believe quiet season is by Bruneel's design, so we'll see. And what did Danielson get in Giro, by comparison, I forget?... :rolleyes:
Danielson was sick in the Giro, and I think he actually was 8th in the Vuelta last year.

Popo rode in support of Danielson at Brasstown Bald this year because Danielson smoked him in the TT. I think he put something like a minute and a half on him. Certainly, that race was a bigger goal for Tommy, who was defending and getting ready for the Giro, than Popo, but the fact is that Landis did not have to mark Popo up Brasstown because Popo was too far back in the GC. The Disco strategy was really bizarre on that climb. Why they didn't just stick Danielson on Popo's wheel from the bottom of the climb, where Popo would have truly ridden for Danielson, and wear down Landis (who was isolated), I have no idea. It's still hard to believe Tommy could not put any time into Landis on a climb like Brasstown, although considering that neither really raced up the mountain, it's not surprising that Landis still had enough legs to stay on Tommy's wheel in the last K.

No one's writing Popo off. He might yet turn out to be the leader of Discovery starting in 2007 or 2008, but this is not his Tour. It's George's Tour.
 

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James OCLV said:
Hincapie can use a strategy similar to Indurain - do very well in the TT's and good enough just to not get dropped in the mountains.

Right now, he's TT'ing with the best. He didn't get killed on the Ventoux in the Dauphine, either... so we'll see. It's still a big question mark.
Didn't he lose 3 min on Ventoux to Leipheimer, Menchov and Azevedo? And then another 4 min 2 days later?
 
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