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Play it just like he says he is. He actually probably has a team lead in mind - they may even have announced it amongst themselves.

However, seeing who comes out of the time trials and first mountain stages in the best position is a good tactic.

Once they get to the mountains, We're probably looking at a couple teams trying to take command (I'm thinking Phonak). Therefore it will be entirely possible that the 4 guys you mentioned (I think Hincapie and Salvodelli are most likely) can just hang with the bunch waiting for something to happen. It's not like Johann has to deploy 5 guys out front to protect his key riders. George and Paolo are strong enough to be there when it counts.

The real question is if 2-3 of them are in a good position, which one takes the first attack? Are any of them strong enough to stay away? Do the other Dosco riders counter when one is caught, and how soon (do they give him time to recover?)?

I think waiting and seeing who is strongest is a good tactic. The interesting question will be to see how it plays out on the mountain. George is in great shape with this tactic. He's basically never going to attack (because that's just not him) and that means he'll be sitting in the front bunch in the end of each mountain stage. On the other hand, Popo and Salvodelli might attack and sacrifice themselves. With the absence of the great climbers like Basso and Heras, I'm not sure I see anyone this year GC contenders who can really fly up the mountain and ditch the field.
 

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Let the first long TT setup the pecking order.

In the mean time Disco can create havoc by allowing any of the riders you mentioned to try and get in a break-away when the stages start tilting up. Phonak, Gerosteiner, and T-Mobile will have to do a lot of chasing to protect there GC hopes.
 

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wilier said:
Salvodelli might attack and sacrifice themselves. With the absence of the great climbers like Basso and Heras, I'm not sure I see anyone this year GC contenders who can really fly up the mountain and ditch the field.
Heras? Great? buahahahaha. he couldn't keep up at the TdF till his got his supply for the Vuelta.
 

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wilier said:
Play it just like he says he is. He actually probably has a team lead in mind - they may even have announced it amongst themselves.

However, seeing who comes out of the time trials and first mountain stages in the best position is a good tactic.

Once they get to the mountains, We're probably looking at a couple teams trying to take command (I'm thinking Phonak). Therefore it will be entirely possible that the 4 guys you mentioned (I think Hincapie and Salvodelli are most likely) can just hang with the bunch waiting for something to happen. It's not like Johann has to deploy 5 guys out front to protect his key riders. George and Paolo are strong enough to be there when it counts.
While I agree with your overall analysis, I wonder why you singled out Hincapie and Savoldelli as the mst likely to hang in the mountains? I would have picked Popo and Azevedo instead. I like Hincapie, but as I keep repeating, people overestimate his climbing ability. Easy to say "all he has to do is hang with the leaders" - but when was he able to do that, ever? The mountain-top finish last year was really impressive, but he had a 19-minute lead on the main pack, and they closed almost all of it by the end - just to put it in perspective. I just cannot see Hincapie hanging with the lead group through three alpine stages - he will lose at least a couple of minutes there to guys like Landis or Evans. For example, Hincapie lost 3 min and 4 min to Landis on two real mountain stages in Dauphine.

Savoldelli to me is a little fried from doing Giro to be a serious contender. And his climbing wasn't anything special there either. The climbs in Giro may have been steeper, but still, I have my doubts.

Popo was strangely quiet all year, but he definitely has the goods to climb and TT well. Azevedo is a proven climber, but his TT may be suspect.

But I can see Popo or Azevedo breaking away in the mountain stages and gaining a couple of minutes to compensate for TT difference.
 

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cry in my soup because LA chased all the local talent off the team? .. hehe

I say the DS should get behind whoever is highest in GC after the 2nd mtn stage depending on decent TT results, and don't allow teammates to chase each other down (seems obvious, but remember Vino).
 

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Acevedo and Popo haven't shown any reason to think they're real TDF players/leaders. Hincapie and Savoldelli would be my initial choice. Let the results from the 1st TT/stage 7 and the 1st Pyrenees stages 10 and 11 force the final selection.
 

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Coot72 said:
What would you do?
Attack, sit-on, counter-attack up every col......with GH, Salvo and Popo being the main threats and Acevedo riding support.....with three legit guys that's what I would do, make everyone else stick their nose in the wind for a change
 

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55x11 said:
I would have picked Popo and Azevedo instead. I like Hincapie, but as I keep repeating, people overestimate his climbing ability.

But I can see Popo or Azevedo breaking away in the mountain stages and gaining a couple of minutes to compensate for TT difference.
I singled out those 2 (george and Salvo) simply because I don't know enough about Popo and Azevedo to know if they will be in contention for the Disco lead spot after the time trials. Sounds like everyone thinks Popo can time trial though.

To be honest, I think Floyd has a real chance at winning the whole thing, but this post was about Disco, not Phonak.
 

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wilier said:
I singled out those 2 (george and Salvo) simply because I don't know enough about Popo and Azevedo to know if they will be in contention for the Disco lead spot after the time trials. Sounds like everyone thinks Popo can time trial though.

To be honest, I think Floyd has a real chance at winning the whole thing, but this post was about Disco, not Phonak.
Agreed. Floyd does have a real chance - he can time trial better than any disco boys and he can outclimb most of them too.

It's a bit ironic, but Disco is a little like team ONCE of years back when they had plenty of contenders, but struggled to win - they had Beloki, Azevedo, one (or two?) Gonzales deGaldeano etc. - at some point Beloki was doing support for deGaldeano who was in yellow.
 
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