Tour De France

Sandman

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Lance Armstrong is absolutely unbelievable! The man is amazing. Is there a more captivating athlete out there? I'd be hard to find one.

The TV in the office has been used frequently this year. First the World Cup now the Tour de France. For those interested, the OLN broadcast the Tour Live.

On a side note, the girls who present the yellow shirted leader with flowers at the end of the stage are fine, fine, fine......

Sandman
 

Dude

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In a nutshell, no. He is, in my opinion, the best athlete on the planet.

In my youth, I used to race Olympic Distance Triathlons (16-19 division). LA got his cycling start in triathlon, and as a 17 year old, he was racing in the pro division, and taking the piss out of racers like Mark Allen (6 time Ironman Champ), and Mike Pigg (the fastest Olympic Distance racer of that era). LA’s background is in swimming, believe it or not. He was a former Texas state champ.

Needless to say, I’ve been following his career since triathlon. He was recruited to the USCF junior team out of triathlon when he was 18. He won the professional road race championships in something like his second go around, as a 21 year old (I believe). He was never really anything better than a single day racer until cancer hit him. He used to be a bull on the bike- big, great sprinter, and a great engine (like Steve Bower was in his prime). He couldn’t climb hills through. Cancer revamped his body, and now the guy is simply dominant in all aspects. What makes him a great champion is his mentality- nobody is more stubborn and tougher up top. The guy hates to concede defeat. If you get a chance to read his book (It’s not about the Bike), do it.

I would love to see LA take a year off and train for the Hawaii Ironman. He used to be a very good runner. I bet he’d shatter the record, and even break 8 hours! He would make guys like Peter Reid look like amateurs!

Anyhow, LA did it again today. He asserted his dominance in the Pyrenees. I can’t wait to see what he does in the Alps. Is Alp D’Huez a stage this year?
 

Reccos

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Lance Armstrong

I agree with Dude and Sandman on Lance Armstrong's athletic prowess in cycling.

But I bet he'd be nothing with one of Sandman's patented death threats on his head! He'd be hiding out like me.:p
 

One Dart

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Interesting typo

While enjoying my trip on the bus today I decided to pick up the buzzer and in it there was a blurb about the Gastown Grand Prix or whatever it is called and they said that included in the field would be three time tour de france champion Lance Armstrong. Since he's racing there right now, I'm thinking he's going to blow off the Gastown race, as difficult as that will be for him. Can't believe that they actually printed that.
 

tiner

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love le tour

i love watching the tour. these guys are incredible...particularly Lance. the media here were suggesting he was below form when really he was just biding his time.

Naturally there is interest here in the green jersey with three class aussies breathing down the great zabel's neck. need to wait for the final stage for that!!!
 

Dude

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Armstrong increases lead!

Today, Lance Armstrong again proved to his main rivals that they don't stand a chance. On the famous summit of Le Mont Ventoux, after Richard Virenque had attacked and broken away from the main group (he's a non contender, so Armstrong and Beloki weren't inclined to chase and waste energy), Armstrong found himself in the group with no teammates, but three ONCE riders (including Beloki).

From OLN:

...When the roads began to rise the ONCE-Eroski team held the advantage because, for the first time this year, the Postal brigade of Jose Luis Rubiera and Roberto Heras faded fast. Beloki on the other hand had the support of Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano and Jose Azevedo. These two attacked to test Lance’s nerve. And the Texan didn’t flinch. When Beloki decided it was time to try his hand, however, Armstrong responded rapidly. He raced up to the Spaniard’s back wheel and immediately passed him… it was a cruel display of strength and spinning speed. At the finish the second big winner of the day was the defending Tour champion. He increased his lead on Beloki (now four-minutes 21-seconds) and can go to the rest day to consider his tactic for the brutal stages in the Alps which come next.
Anybody who knows cycling knows how hard it is to counter in a big climb like that, especially when you have no teammates to help you in pace setting. Armstrong made it look easy, and made a mockery out of the ONCE team.

Armstrong will likely race conservatively from here on in, likely only going for a stage win in the long Time Trial that remains. Then again, if he finds himself countering only Beloki, and there is no one else in front, look for Armstrong to put the hammer down!
 

Dude

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It makes for interesting debate.

This guy obviously doesn’t understand cycling, as a sport, and hasn’t endeavored to learn. No big deal to me- I’m pretty ignorant on the topics of other sports too (see my thoughts on cricket & rugby).

As far as the sport of cycling, from a skill standpoint, the most demanding, by far, is Downhill Mountain Bike Racing. It is also right up there anarobically as the most taxing. A typical DH race takes 4-6 minutes, and you have to be as fast as you can for that period (100% effort), while being technically as perfect as possible. One small slip can cost you seconds, minutes, a major mechanical breakdown (as I’ve experienced), or a major injury (as I’ve experienced). It is akin to Freestyle skiing competitions. Believe me, at the end of one of these efforts, your legs, arms, and chest all burn. You feel like coughing up a lung, and you can’t feel your hands. If you’re lucky, you’ve had a clean run. If you’re not lucky, you either get carted off the course by St. Jean’s Ambulance, of hitch a ride to the bottom in a support vehicle carrying your sled- ½ under each arm.

From most difficult in terms of skill, to least, here’s how I’d classify:

1. DH Mountain Bike (includes dual competitions)
2. BMX
3. Cross Country Mountain Bike
4. Road Racing
5. Track
6. Time Trials

Road racing also demands skill on the bike, big balls (descending @ 100+ kph with virtually no protection in a tight pack can be fcuking scary), and a huge engine. Racing the Alps of the TDF is, physically, the most demanding race anyone can ever do on a bike. Probably the most misunderstood aspect of road is the strategy required, and the importance of having a strong team of riders who are all good at various aspects. I have raced road, time-trial, cross country, and now DH. All are demanding in their different elements. It is just that nowadays, I would rather spend 1-2 hours in the saddle pushing the limits of extreme DH…riding up hills does not interest me anymore- hucking off rock faces does!

Anyhow, different sports all have their different levels of difficulty in either the skill, speed, endurance, or strategy aspect. To be classified as a sport, I think you need all those elements (thus, CURLING is not a sport). If you compete in sports, you are an athlete. In my opinion, he’s the world’s best.

Probably the wrong place for this discussion, but whatever. I'll let a mighty moderator decide.:rolleyes:

PS: LA to win the 50 KM time-trial tomorrow by 2+ minutes. Take it to the bank!
 

tiner

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load of garden fertilliser.

dear Ron

not even half decent writing and certainly not journalism.

dude, i knew little about road cycling until a few years ago. i really enjoy watching it now. incredible selflessness from the domestiques who protect their main rider but rarely see glory. few sports offer this.

skill, balls or athleticism??? cant say that we really know untill we've done it.

holding my breath that robbie can hold off erik zabel for the green and not prepared to take you up on the bet on lance.

a big well done mate to him..........
 

Dude

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Well, you should have. LA did win today's time trial, but only by 53" over Raimondas Rumas. But, really...53 seconds is still pretty dominating!

It really puts into perspective how dominating Greg LeMond was in 1989, when he won by something like a minute & 6 second over Laurent Fignon. That TT was only 30 KM long, very flat, and lots of turns. That was the year LeMond was behind going into the last stage, and ended up with a 6 second margin at the end of the tour!

LA blows me away though. Everyone says that he is winning because he doesn't have the same competition past greats like LeMond, Pedro Delgado, Fignon, and Hinault had. I say bullshit. Armstrong is simply that much stronger. He has the best team, and he can't be beaten either psychologically or physically. I think he'll win at least two more tours.
 

Dude

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From OLN:

The final stage is a moment to reflect on the overall winners. And Robbie McEwen made that task easier today. The Lotto rider is the first Australian to win the Sprint King title. He is the first rider in seven years to nudge ahead of Erik Zabel in the quest for the green jersey. And he did so by winning the final stage with a rapid final kick that put all other quicks to shame. Coming from sixth place in the final turn, not even some questionable tactics from Zabel’s team-mate could stop him from winning his third Tour de France stage, his second on the famous Avenue Champs-Elysees
A Yank winning the Tour, and an Aussie winning the Green Jersey. Europe has to be in mourning!:D
 

ParkHead

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I think it is truly amazing how easy Lance makes it look. I mean there is nobody even close to him. I wonder how many more times he will win the tour de france. Absolutley a step above everyone else.
 

Dude

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There are a bunch of riders who have won 5 times- Bernard Hinault, Eddie Merecx (sp?), Jacques Anquitille, Indurain, and I know I'm missing one or two. Indurain is the only one to have won 5 straight.

I just don't see anyone challenging LA for the next two or three years. The guy dominates, and does it in all conditions. When Indurain finally lost, it was when he had to ride in the cold, and folded like a cheep deck of cards. Lance trains in Nice and throughout France in the winter. The guy's training regime is legendary...and fcuking brutal. He's dominant physically, but so much tougher mentally.

I see him winning 6, maybe 7, then retiring.
 

Captain Shamrock

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Lance Armstrong is absolutely unbelievable! The man is amazing. Is there a more captivating athlete out there? I'd be hard to find one
Obviously, you haven't seen the Sidewinder play darts.....:rolleyes:
 

Dude

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Dave Watson Gaps TDF Peleton

Watson Gaps TDF peleton- see the write-up here.

Didn't know where to put that, but wouldn't mind hearing Sandman's opinion on the stunt.

As for the TDF this year...it is shaping up to be the closest since Greg LeMond beat Laurent Fignon by 6 seconds in the 1989 Tour.

After today's 47 kilometer time trial from Gaillac to Cap’Decouverte, Armstrong retained the yellow jersey, but lost over 90 seconds to Jan Ulrich, the stage winner. Ulrich is the only other real contender for this year's Tour, and is the only other former winner racing. Up until now, nobody has really put a stamp on this race. Armstrong hasn't been dominant as in past tours. He's been very good, and plagued by some bad luck, but he hasn't taken real control yet. He rode defensively in the Alp D'Huez stage, limited to answering constant attacks from Tyler Hamilton and Joseph Belocki. Belocki is out now after a horrific crash on greasy tarmac, but Hamilton (riding with a fractured collarbone) is still hanging around. Ulrich hasn’t been climbing especially well, but then he didn’t lose too much time either. Apparently, he was suffering from a stomach virus that week. The next big test for both riders comes in two days, as the Tour hits the Pyreneas.

Unlike 1990, when Greg Lemond won the Tour without taking a single stage victory, this one is a two man race. I predict that Armstrong will be able to hold off Ulrich in the mountains, but will he be able to gain time? The second to last sage is a 49 KM time trial…if today is any indication, Armstrong needs at least a 2 minute lead on Ulrich going into that stage to ensure a big enough gap to maintain victory. It could actually mean some real racing on the last day of the Tour!

We have a race!
 

Sandman

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Dude,

The Tour has been awesome this year............however I think it is more than a two man race......the Khazikstan rider named Alexander Vinokourov can not be igonored.......he was phenomenal in the Alps and will surely be a threat. Lance has not been his dominating self........usually at this point he's had the tour in hand......But dude you are right, it's going to be a great finish to a great event.

As for your stunt/daredevil buddy from Centennial he might as well be the streaker at Wimbledon..........crashing someone elses party/show/stage.........no place for it.

Sandman
 

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