FanDuel - WFBC

February 16, 2005

Armstrong to go for a 7th consecutive Tour in 2005.: There had been much speculation that he would give this year's event a miss, choosing to focus on the Spring Classics and a possible attempt at the hour record instead -- but perhaps unsurprisingly, come July, Lance will be in Fromentine attempting to break yet more records.

posted by afx237vi to other at 08:58 AM - 30 comments

So what do you Spofites think? How long can he keep going? It was quite comfortable last year, but he's already the Tour de France's second oldest post-war winner. With young guns like Ivan Basso and Damiano Cunego snapping at his heels, surely he can't keep winning forever? Or can he?!

posted by afx237vi at 09:01 AM on February 16

He can't keep winning indefinitely (but if he does, he may be the first athlete to get a billion dollar endorsement deal- from Geritol). But like any great competitor, until the field shows he can lose, by actually beating him, he's got to be considered the favorite. After all, he's only one year older than he was last year; and last year, he won his 6th straight being a full year older than he was when he won his 5th. :)

posted by hincandenza at 09:50 AM on February 16

I'm pretty disappointed as I was hoping he'd try his hand at a new challenge (the Classics, a Vuelta-Giro double, something non-TdF). That said, teams are going to have to change their tactics (something they surprisingly have not done much of in recent years). If they let Lance and Discovery dictate the pace, Lance can definitely win again. If they attack and attack and attack some more, we could see the unravelling that happened to Big Mig in 96.

posted by kokaku at 10:09 AM on February 16

There wasn't any question in my mind that he was coming back. He knows exactly on what side his legacy to the sport is buttered, and he has a chance to take an already impressive wins record and put it out of reach. This isn't about being a well-rounded cycling hero. It's about profile, especially in the States. He's gotta come back to the TdF until he loses. Which won't be this year.

posted by chicobangs at 10:26 AM on February 16

I'm no cycling expert, so take my comments for what they're worth: It just seems to me, after watching the last two TdF's closely, that it's all about the teams that are put together. Lance was very strong in the individual time-trials last year, but it seemed that he could be much more relaxed on a day-to-day basis because his teammates were kicking butt. In comparison to the other big-name cyclists, Lance seemed to enjoy a greater cushion as provided by his support staff. Lance's success last year, and I would predict for this coming year, has more to do with the team that he assembles than it does with his age. Is it fair to say that Lance has it much easier than most other riders on lesser teams?

posted by mayerkyl at 10:48 AM on February 16

Certainly the fact that he has a phenomenal team makes it easier for him to assert his dominance. But he still has to step up in those trials, and be the leader of that team. Which is a task to which he has always been more than equal. A couple of the other teams are quite solid too, and Lance winning 7 is far from a sure thing (Basso's a good dark-horse bet), but if you watched him last year, he was the best all-around racer in the field, especially in the mountains. His team feeds off his ability and drive as much as he feeds off theirs.

posted by chicobangs at 11:22 AM on February 16

Is it fair to say that Lance has it much easier than most other riders on lesser teams? To some degree, all the top riders take it easy in the peloton. They are very well-protected by their teams at all times, but that's as much a part of cycling as the individual efforts. When Armstrong is on his own, he goes incredibly fast in both the mountains and flats. Having said that, there is definitely an advantage. The Postal (now Discovery) team time trials the last few years have been incredible. I'm surprised Lance is going to race. What does he have to prove anymore?

posted by dusted at 12:19 PM on February 16

I think he just likes the celebrity culture and wants to remain in the lime-light.

posted by mayerkyl at 01:18 PM on February 16

I'm sorry to have to ask this, but I tried to build a link to that last comment, it was a pic of Lance and Cheryl at the Grammy's but it didn't work. The site was, http://tv.zap2it.com/photos/index/0,1237,zp_fromThumb|93577|100117,00.html Would someone mind explaining to me the correct way to build a link?

posted by mayerkyl at 01:21 PM on February 16

<a href="http://tv.zap2it.com/photos/index/0,1237,zp_fromThumb|93577|100117,00.html">This<a> will get you to This.

posted by chicobangs at 02:36 PM on February 16

I think he just likes the celebrity culture and wants to remain in the lime-light. I can think of a few easier ways than winning the Tour de Freaking France every year.... He should release an album.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 02:43 PM on February 16

Sure, Lance gets protected by his team in the peloton, but so do Ullrich, Basso and all the big players. Lance is not expected to go back to the team car and load up on bottles for his team-mates, y'know? BUT, as soon as they hit the big mountains, the team strategies go right out of the window and it's man against man, team-mate against team-mates. And that's where Lance excels, so it would do him a great disservice to say he's won so many times because his team is always the strongest (btw, T-Mobile won the team competition last year). For what it's worth, I'm not his biggest fan, but I can't see him getting beaten this year. Basso is not a good enough time-trialler, Kloden was maybe a one-tour-wonder, it's Cunego's first tour and despite him being a cycling wunderkid no-one wins in their first tour. Mayo, Heras and Simoni for some reason always have disasterous performances. Tyler Hamilton... er, the least said the better. That leaves Jan Ullrich. Again. I am a fan of Ullrich, so I'm hoping he can do it... but realistically? Tour de Lance once more.

posted by afx237vi at 03:37 PM on February 16

afx - I think you discount team strength in the mts a bit too much. It helps to have strong guys who can pursue an attack on the slopes and who can pace their man up to the leaders when necessary (in addition to being able to drop back and hustle back). Certainly all the top team leaders are surrounded by excellent riders, but USPS has always been a notch above (e.g. Hamilton, Heras, Leipheimer - who all degraded in the Tour after leaving the team but were powerful in the mountains when riding for Lance). Still, I agree with your essential point that the mountains game is more about the abilities of the individual rider and how much they have left in the tank physically and mentally.

posted by kokaku at 03:45 PM on February 16

Minimize all the speculation, the sport of bicycle racing is what it is, much harder physically and mentally than the big three. If and thats a big if Armstrong is able to win another tour, it would be an incredible acheivement, unlike anything in recent sports past.... remember those he riding against have every advantage he has, beside it's interesting watching those trying to pull him down( fench and german press) so go Mr. Armstrong...make us proud.

posted by km2262 at 04:21 PM on February 16

Like many have already said - I don't see anyone beating Lance again this year. He and his team are too strong (many of his domestiques would certainly be GC contenders on other teams) and seem to use tactics and strategy much better than other teams. >>>I was hoping he'd try his hand at a new challenge (the Classics, a Vuelta-Giro double, something non-TdF). He will ride in Paris-Nice and the Tour of Flanders which he hasn't done in the recent past but too bad he'll miss the cobblestones of Paris-Roubaix. I guess the threat of injury is too large... Selfishly I was hoping he wouldn't ride just so the Tour would be a bit more interesting and not the "wait for Lance to dominate in the mountains and time trials" race it has become. Nonetheless Lance is one of the best cyclists ever and it's a treat to watch him ride.

posted by JohnSFO at 05:33 PM on February 16

fuck everyone that doubted him hes the man he proves the reason why he gets paid billions the man have cancer and he still won 6 if he can win more im on his side

posted by dhdefrag3x at 05:37 PM on February 16

kokaku - it's all just opinion of course, but you could argue that Basso had a great team to help him on the climbs last year, with Voigt, Julich and Sastre who all could make great leaders themselves. Your team can help in the climbs, I agree, yes, but if you hit the wall there's not really that much they can do. I guess that's why Kloden was told to keep going last year when Ullrich started to struggle.

posted by afx237vi at 05:57 PM on February 16

I admire Armstrong for dealing with the cancer. As a cancer survivor,still battling the stuff, I know that its not easy. He image seems almost too good to be true. I hope he can win this year. He has been an inpsiration for many with cancer. I also hope that all of the rumers remain that rumers. It has indeeed used performance enhancing drugs to accomplish this feat he would be the biggest phoney ever! I hope and pray that I am wrong!

posted by daddisamm at 08:25 PM on February 16

Memo to self: rent The Triplets of Belleville.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 09:53 PM on February 16

Good luck with your fight, daddisamm.

posted by dusted at 10:27 PM on February 16

i hope you're wrong too daddisamm. it's just so fairy tale, i want it to be real.

posted by garfield at 08:31 AM on February 17

Never bet against a streak.

posted by JJ at 08:35 AM on February 17

Never bet against a streak. I am not a betting man! Thanks Dusted for your comment

posted by daddisamm at 10:05 AM on February 17

>>>I also hope that all of the rumers remain that rumers. It has indeeed used performance enhancing drugs to accomplish this feat he would be the biggest phoney ever! I hope and pray that I am wrong! Ahhhh - the entire peloton is doped up. The sooner we accept it, the quicker we can get over it. 'Course I could be wrong :)

posted by JohnSFO at 10:52 AM on February 17

Ahhhh - the entire peloton is doped up. The sooner we accept it, the quicker we can get over it. I've heard the "how could they not be" argument. OTOH, given that Armstrong has been accused so many times and under such scrutiny, how likely is it that he would be tained all this time and never caught?

posted by lil_brown_bat at 04:17 PM on February 17

He's a crafty one, that's for sure.

posted by squealy at 06:21 PM on February 17

I firmly believe that the testing technology has not caught up with the doping tech. Thus, in my mind, there are alot of "juiced" folks out there, that are pretending to be clean. I think this is true in all sports. Track, Cycling, MLB, NFL and NBA among others. We have only seen the tip of the iceburg! Still, I hope that Armstrong is, indeed, clean!

posted by daddisamm at 06:43 PM on February 17

It's rapidly becoming a benchmarking criteria in sport: "Sure he was good, but was he so good you thought he was on drugs?" I offer my admiration for the man with no caveat.

posted by JJ at 04:33 AM on February 18

>>>I firmly believe that the testing technology has not caught up with the doping tech. I agree 100%. Once a substance is tested against, another emerges which flies under the anti-doping radar. That being said - maybe doping is not all bad and just part of the evolutionary process of professional sports and competition. Should cyclists go back to the days of receiving no assistance on the road and having to fix mechanicals themselves? The reality is that performance-enhancing drugs are here to stay, whether we like it or not.

posted by JohnSFO at 11:25 AM on February 18

He's no dope.

posted by docgonzo at 12:29 PM on February 20

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