July 20, 2005

Good for Vino: After seeing Vino be the strongest member of team T Mobile, and witnessing his teammates chase him down numerous times, I'm glad to see Vinokourov move on. But the article's "bombshell" characterization is way off, if not for the obvious jersey color choice; he didn't seem like part of the team.

posted by garfield to other at 09:21 AM - 25 comments

thought I really don't know the real reason for the teal/yellow choice over the pink/white...both suck imo.

posted by garfield at 09:22 AM on July 20

I have no idea for sure either, but the only logical reason I can think of is that it's a statement of national pride. He looks like a hell of a rider, but then, they all do really - the bits that set one apart from another are the cogs spinning around inside their heads I suspect.

posted by JJ at 09:30 AM on July 20

JJ, that would make sense, but I don't understand why he would get that individualizing honor. That's the part I like about him. He attacks, and attacks again; such an aggressive rider. As a team captain, he could afford to be more tactical, and should be in impressive form in next year's TdF.

posted by garfield at 09:42 AM on July 20

This site reckons he gets to wear a different kit during the non-ime trial stages because he won his national road race championships, and that during the time trials he has to wear the pink one. Not exactly the TdF homepage as a source though...

posted by JJ at 09:48 AM on July 20

its good enough for me (a la Cookie Monster)

posted by garfield at 10:15 AM on July 20

JJ, that makes sense. One of the big problems with T-Mobile was that there were too many cooks in the kitchen. Ullrich, Vinokourov and Kloden (and even Sevilla, who's been attacking like a madman the last couple of days) were all looking at the yellow jersey, and even if the team really hung together, that would still be a serious distraction. Look at the Discovery Channel team by comparison. The riders are every bit as strong, but there's no discussion who's leading the team. The result: 7 straight Tour wins. (I'm calling it now. Unless Lance falls and breaks something, this year is over.) Team CSC has a similar issue with Julich and Jens Voight both probably good enough to lead if required, but again, Ivan Basso is their main man, and he's the early favorite to win it all next year. I don't get the feeling the riders of T-Mobile really feel much like a team, though. The T-Mobile braintrust had better work the logjam out by next year or they risk being irrelevant, after a decade at or near the top of the sport. Ullrich doesn't have it anymore; he's been beaten too often, and he's getting old. Sevilla, even if he delivers on all his promise, is still three years away from contending for the whole run of the Tour. That leaves Kloden, who ... might be good enough.

posted by chicobangs at 10:39 AM on July 20

Very much a la Cookie Monster, who won the Seasame Street time trial and therefore gets to wear Big Bird's yellow jersey for the duration of le Tour, which is brought to you by the letters L and A, and the number 7.

posted by JJ at 10:40 AM on July 20

One of the big problems with T-Mobile was that there were too many cooks in the kitchen. Eggzackly so. Well, it's an art form, bringing together (and keeping together) a team of competitive guys who yet aren't stifled by supporting the leader. Seems like a couple-three of 'em should have moved on by now, if Ullrich won't get out of the way. I wondered about Kloden after stage 15, and if he'd be annoyed with the way Ullrich died after he (Kloden) had busted his hump to get him up there.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 10:48 AM on July 20

If Vinokourov goes to a team with any kind of decent support system, he's going to be right there in the mix next year. The guy can ride, and he's utterly fearless and fun as hell to watch.

posted by chicobangs at 11:33 AM on July 20

JJ, I think your explanation of the jersey choice is correct. Similarly Hushovd raced last year in a big Norwegian cross instead of his green C.A. kit. I think that this happens on a fairly regular basis but is usually not so obvious. I'm not really an expert but to me Vino seems like his own worst enemy. He's so erratic -- very entertaining, but with almost no self-control. Garfield's theory is that he would be more patient if he was the general, but that presumes that he has some self-control to exercise. This year's tour hasn't shown much evidence of that. It's fun to watch, though, and I have been rooting for him.

posted by Amateur at 11:48 AM on July 20

Agreed. He hasn't demonstrated that quality, but I make the assumption he attacked with such abandon because he didn't feel part of the team and wanted to demonstrate his ability. But that's a pretty big assumption.

posted by garfield at 12:42 PM on July 20

btw, the jersey issue is explained a little more in depth here.

Riders on each team are required to wear the same color jersey. Each team's jersey features logos of sponsors who pay the riders' salaries. The result is a kaleidoscope of moving billboards on wheels. Some teams' uniforms feature subtle colors; other teams opt for brighter colors. Some teams' uniforms look surprisingly similar, further adding to the blur of the often fast-moving peloton (the main pack of riders).
A few riders wear special jerseys. Throughout the race, the reigning World Champion wears his team colors, but on a special jersey with horizontal stripes. National current road champions wear team jerseys featuring their country's colors.

posted by pfuller at 01:32 PM on July 20

>>>Team CSC has a similar issue with Julich and Jens Voight both probably good enough to lead if required, but again, Ivan Basso is their main man, and he's the early favorite to win it all next year. I don't think Voight or Julich have what it takes to be the main GC rider for CSC. Voight lost massive time in the moutains and Julich may have peaked too early this year. Basso is the real deal - while not able to ride away from Lance, he was the only one able to keep his pace. I do agree that T-Mobile has "too many cooks in the kitchen", but ultimately Ullrich showed that he was the strongest rider on the team and did keep the pace with Basso and Armstrong, only getting dropped at the very end. If there was no Lance then Jan certainly would have won the Tour multiple time IMO. As for Vino - his constant attacking adds much excitement to the race but in the end pushes him down in the GC. If he does go to Disco, it'll be interesting to see if Bruyneel trains him to be the GC rider or if they continue to develop Popovych. Finally I believe Vino is obligated to wear the special kit because he is the National Champion of Khazikstan.

posted by JohnSFO at 02:17 PM on July 20

Perhaps, but wasn't Voigt injured? And Julich is still improving. This is all moot because CSC has Basso, but I would think you could build a team around either of them and they'd ultimately grow into the job. And agreed about Ullrich winning 3 or 4 Tours if Lance wasn't around, and he might be the best T-Mobile rider even now, but he's had the whiff of resignation about him for the last two or three years, like he's always been racing for second place. Which may be true, but still. You don't want an older guy who's gotten used to losing as your general.

posted by chicobangs at 02:35 PM on July 20

>>don't want an older guy who's gotten used to losing as your general. such is life for any rider during the "Lance era" :) Agreed that perhaps Julich and Voight could be leaders on another team but not CSC. I like them both a lot and they're popular and well-liked in the peloton as well. Next year will be very interesting for sure. Unless Lance gets bored with Sheryl Crow tour and stages another comback...

posted by JohnSFO at 02:45 PM on July 20

Yeah, but Ullrich's legacy was hurt more by the Lance Era than anyone else. His prime has coincided neatly with Lance's, and without Lance, Jan is probably mentioned in the same breath as people like Indurain or Hinault, instead of being the Joe Frazier of cycling. At least he managed to win it once. Sure, it was a million years ago now, but still.

posted by chicobangs at 03:02 PM on July 20

Next year will be very interesting for sure. Agreed. I can't wait for next year's tour. I think it will be truly wide open, with a chance for a young or unheralded rider to win it all. I seriously hope that Lance's main opponents of the last couple years won't just move up a spot or two and "inherit" the win.

posted by dusted at 03:46 PM on July 20

Great points by Chico on teamwork... I didn't fully realize the role of other Discovery riders until I saw the utter ineptitude of T-Mobile on stage 14, where Kloden and Ullrich kept chasing down Vino, basically serving as a teammate for the last guy you want to help, an otherwise isolated Armstrong. Unless someone can explain this to me, this might have been the idiot move of the mountain stages. "Too many cooks in the kitchen" doesn't really explain this, especially when talent-laden squads aren't exactly new. You'd be hard-pressed to find a team like the La Vie Claire squad fielded in 1986 -- LeMond, Hinault, Hampsten, Bauer and Jean-Francois Benard all finished in the top 12. (Of course, you couldn't imagine a bigger catfight than the one between LeMond and Hinault that year. So I guess too many cooks would have hurt that team if anyone else was bringing any heat. Hinault was the only rider within 10 minutes of LeMond that year.) http://uk.sports.yahoo.com/tdf/pcom/14.html

posted by jackhererra at 03:50 PM on July 20

>>>this might have been the idiot move of the mountain stages As much as I try and make sense of that move - I cannot. Why Jan and Kloden would essentially pace Lance back up to Vino is a mystery...

posted by JohnSFO at 04:23 PM on July 20

The frustrating part for a viewer was that those would-be Vino attacks were the last opportunity to make this race remotely interesting. Even though there were two or three other big stages, you knew DSC was going to get its act together in a way it wasn't during 14.

posted by jackhererra at 04:49 PM on July 20

>>>those would-be Vino attacks were the last opportunity to make this race remotely interesting Yeah but at least it was better than last year :) This year we got to see Lance isolated from his team and subject to numerous attacks. Sure it was always clear that he'd pull through but seeing him out there without the constant protection of the Disco/USPS boys was refreshing. If anything it showed just how strong he is in being able to respond single handedly to the attacks. Additionally watching Lance, Basso and Jan riding together was a treat as was the sudden emergence of the chicken-legged Rasmussen as a top notch rider.

posted by JohnSFO at 06:00 PM on July 20

Who will captain Discovery next year when Lance takes role of advisor instead of racer? Maybe Vino?

posted by graymatters at 07:54 PM on July 20

>>> Who will captain Discovery next year when Lance takes role of advisor instead of racer? Maybe Vino?>>> Its supposed to be Yaroslav Popyvich, the man in the white jersey this tour.

posted by freddiefreeloader at 12:37 AM on July 21

Popovich is probably a good choice and probably is the favorite, but then there are also other current members Paolo Savoldelli (a stage winner this year) and Tom Danielson (not in LeTour this year while rehabbing). Then, there's always George who really showed something with his recent stage win. I hope Discovery does not end up with too many cooks as well. then, you could see the team falling apart and an outsider brought in.

posted by graymatters at 01:29 PM on July 21

I don't think you'll see too many cooks on Disco. Brunyeel is too smart for that. Savoldelli will be the Giro d'Italia captain (being Italian and the '05 winner). Popo will probably be the Tour captain (based on his current showing and the difficulty of racing the Giro then trying to be successful in the Tour - though lack-of-Lance may change people's opinions about that - Basso may be proof it can be done). Not sure they have someone as a Vuelta leader - don't know if they have a strong Spanish rider to represent there (they don't have to go with the same nationality but that does attract more attention).

posted by kokaku at 02:07 PM on July 21

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