Lance to go for 7 straight

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Anonymous's picture

"Announced today on the website is news that Lance will indeed try this year for 7 straight Tour de France victories. They also put up his ""initial 2005 schedule"" as:

Mar 6-13 - Paris-Nice
Apr 3 - Tour of Flanders
Apr 19-24 - Tour de Georgia
Jul 2-24 - Tour de France


Anonymous's picture
Anthony Poole (not verified)
Not surprised by this!

I always thought he would ride the 2005 edition of the TdF. As I said in the post about his appearance on Oprah last week, LA is a master tactician on and off the bike and is very good at lulling people into a false sense of security.

I reckon next year he will give it a miss, do the Spring Classics, the Giro and then rest up and train for an attempt on the 'Hour' Record in September or October before announcing his retirement.

Of course, if he doesn't win the TdF this year and fails in his 'Hour' attempt, then that is a whole different story.

The BBC is also carrying the story about LA competing in this year's TdF.

Anonymous's picture
"Chainwheel" (not verified)
Six and counting...

"""Of course, if he doesn't win the TdF this year and fails in his 'Hour' attempt, then that is a whole different story.""

Good point. I think most folks take for granted that he will win. But any number of things could derail his hopes. Then one has to wonder, if he doesn't win this year, will he be back next year? I guess that would depend on how he lost (a crash or illness, or just not being able to keep up).

He wouldn't want to go out with two losses. Remember, Miguel Indurain won 5 straight TdFs, but retired afer not making the top ten in his attempt for six straight. Age is definitely a factor.


Anonymous's picture
Mordecai Silver (not verified)
Lance & Classics

"""I reckon next year he will give it a miss, do the Spring Classics""

Which spring Classics do you mean? He's doing the Tour of Flanders this year, and has done Liege-Bastogne-Liege and Amstel Gold since 1999. Do you think he wants to try Paris-Roubaix? I don't. Lance hasn't won a Classic race since he came back from cancer."

Anonymous's picture
Anthony Poole (not verified)
Probably the same

The point I was making is that he won't skip next year's TdF to do the spring classics. A more accurate way of describing it would be skipping the TdF to do the Giro. I think he will do much the same spring classics in 2006 as he is planning to do this year.

I think next year will be his last year at racing and it will be like a grand lap of honour. I think he will do the Giro in support of a team mate who has a genuine chance and then concentrate on preparing for the 'Hour' Record.

Of course, all of this depends on him wining the TdF this year. If he fails, that is not part of the plan, so it maybe back to the drawing board to decide on how he races in 2006.

In reality, he will probably keep everyone guessing until he has to reveal his hand.

Anonymous's picture
Mordecai Silver (not verified)
Lance doesn't ride for teammates

"""I think he will do the Giro in support of a team mate who has a genuine chance""

When did he ever show such generosity in the past? He isn't a domestique. And what teammate would have a much better chance of winning the Giro than Lance, if he's in good form?

""In reality, he will probably keep everyone guessing until he has to reveal his hand.""

You make it sound as if everyone plans their year around Lance! Those who do the Tour don't change their racing and training schedules because of uncertainty whether Lance will do it too.

Anonymous's picture
Anthony Poole (not verified)
But he might in his last year!

Well, perhaps I naively thought that he might do something like this in his last year. I hadn't appreciated the situation of various people after his neck in Italy when I made my remarks about him riding the Giro.

If he did ride in the Giro, I would be surprised if his form was ready in May to win it, unless he decided specifically that is what his goal was.

While he hasn't ridden in support of his team mates in the Giro, he certainly has in some of the lesser races, including last year for Hincapie when he was in with a shot in one of the Spring Classics. I forget which one.

I don't think that everyone tailors their training and racing schedule around what Lance decides to do or not to do. It's the commentators that keep guessing.

That said, Iban Mayo came into the TdF convinced he could beat Lance in 2004, but his form had peaked a month too early, having decided to go out and beat him on Mt Ventoux in June during the Dauphiné. Had LA not have been riding the Dauphiné, I can't help feeling that Mayo would have treated that race differently.

Anonymous's picture
chris (not verified)
Lance tactics

I don't agree with you that this was some headgame Lance was playing. I could be wrong since I don't have first-hand information from Lance and I can not read minds.

If any Tour riders had a false sense of security that they would win without Lance, then they are quite presumptuous. If they can not overcome that false sense of security over the next four months, they are not even close to champions anyway.

I believe Lance seriously considered taking the Tour off this year to pursue other goals but ultimately decided to race (no doubt with unrelenting pressure from Discovery Channel). Does there always have to be ulterior motives of posturing, gamesmanship, and/or deception? Can nothing be taken at face value anymore?

Anonymous's picture
Anthony Poole (not verified)
I never said he sought to deceive

I never said LA sought to deceive. But by being coy about his plans, he allowed everyone else to make up their own minds, including you and me.

But, for once, he didn' lull Jan Ullrich into a false sense of security. Ever since the TdF route was announced in October - and probably before then - Ullrich has consistently said that he fully expected LA to line up at the start of the TdF in 2005. I've happened to have shared that view.

I suspect Lance is a big enough brand image not to be screwed around with by Disscovery. However, I've no doubt they expressed their likely delight if he chose to race in the TdF in 2005 instead of 2006.

But LA isn't getting any younger, and he stands a better chance of winning in 2005 than he will in 2006, simply because of his age.

If you look at his previous six victories, there are countless occasions when LA has fooled his fellow competitors into thinking he was weak. The one and only time he was weak throughout the race, in 2003, he still managed to win, which was largely down to poor tactics by those who could have beaten him and a certain level of complacency among his opponents.

Personally, I take his story about his back brake being stuck on during the climb up the Col du Galibier in 2003 with a large piece of salt every time I am reminded of it. In all his TV interviews during the 2003 tour, he never once admitted how he really felt. No suprise there, because everyone else would have capitalised on it. So we should not take things at face value.

Cycling is as much about what goes on in the riders' minds as it is about what goes on in their legs.

A significant element of LA's six victories was tactical gamesmanship, but not necessarily deceit. There seems to be a pattern to LA's tactics.

LA has used the same tactics fairly consistently, yet Jan Ullrich has frequently fallen for the same tricks, resulting in him attacking LA at the wrong point during a mountain stage and loosing badly.

Despite Ullrich's poor showing last year, some of which was down to illness at the start of the Tour (one of the reasons why LA himself was weak in 2003), I am sure LA still rates him as his leading opponent, with Ivan Basso only marginally behind.

Gamesmanship LA is guilty of; deceit he maybe guilty of, but only because others still haven't figured what he's doing; posturing I don't think he is guilty of, that is just the way he is.

It should be an interesting race this year.

Anonymous's picture
Mordecai Silver (not verified)
Good thing!

It's a good thing for OLN that Lance has decided to do the Tour. If he was doing the Giro instead OLN would have all their eggs in the wrong basket.

Hmm, maybe they had some advance warning?!?!?

Anonymous's picture
Uli (not verified)
It's customary to pass the torch.

It would be a shame if Lance quit Le Tour without giving the up and coming racers an opportunity to beat him. Lance is gracious to race for #7. I'm sure he will win a lot of fans within the peloton. I'm also sure he won't win another. He's finish. He may even finish on the podim. But he certainly will not win #7.


Anonymous's picture
spinemeroound (not verified)
no Giro

He won't do the Giro, he'll be arrested if he goes to Italy

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