Armstrong Picks Ullrich to Win '06 Tour

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Anonymous's picture

"Armstrong picks Ullrich to win '06 Tour easily

BERLIN -- Jan Ullrich will win the 2006 Tour de France with ease, according to former arch-rival and record seven-time champion Lance Armstrong.

""I predict that he'll win it by four to five minutes,"" Armstrong was quoted as saying in Thursday's Bild newspaper.

Armstrong, who retired after winning the 2005 tour, has long said his key challenger was Ullrich.

Ullrich, 32, won the world's greatest cycling race in 1997 but finished behind Armstrong the past seven years with six podiums.

""All our team planning and strategy in the past years concentrated entirely on how to neutralize Ullrich. Fortunately it always worked,"" the American said.

Armstrong, 34, said once again he would not come out of retirement to race in the Tour.

""I'm never going to race again. But that doesn't mean that I'll have nothing to do with it. It's a fantastic race and I'll always watch it.""

Bild did not say where Armstrong made the remarks. He was in South Africa on Wednesday to launch a ""Unite 4 Health"" campaign and visited cancer patients in the Soweto township outside Johannesburg."

Anonymous's picture
Peter (not verified)

Basso, Baby, Basso! Ullrich's best days may be behind him.

Anonymous's picture
Peter (not verified)

Oh, I almost for got - Ullrich is almost as slow as Derek on climbs. Basso should be able to gain time on him in the mountians.

Anonymous's picture
Michael Y (not verified)
check out Jan's new do!
Anonymous's picture
Derek Chu (not verified)
Peter brevett?

Pokey Peter Brevett, is that you? Where have you been, slow guy? I'd like Vinokurov to win or at least have a great race. Like me, Vino is an agressive biker and ATTACKS.

Peter, I'd figure you support Rasmussen since you descend like he does his time trials....pretty weak.....

Anonymous's picture
Peter (not verified)

Hey mister lantern rouge, the only thing I remember you attacking is the apple pie and lunch! Jimmy Casper must be proud of you. I'll admit my descending was weak last year, especially in 40 degree weather, but wait until this year!

By the way, when are you going to show up for the skiing challenge? The you'll see how fast I go downhill! I was waiting for you to come up to Stowe last weekend, but you were too busy eating and drinking at Killington. You must be a disciple of the Bode Miller training philosophy!

Anonymous's picture
John Z (not verified)
Ullrich Can't Climb

Alpe d'Huez 10 Fastest Times

36'50, Marco Pantani, 1995
36'55, Marco Pantani, 1997
37'15, Marco Pantani, 1994
37'36, Lance Armstrong 2004*
37'40, Jan Ullrich, 1997
38'05, Lance Armstrong, 2001
38'21, Iban Mayo, 2003
38'40, Jan Ullrich, 2004*
39'45 - Miguel Indurain, 1991
41'00 - Beppe Guerini, 1999


Anonymous's picture
Derek C (not verified)
Iker Flores 2005 TDF Lanterne Rounge

"Pokey Peter - I didn't ski last weekend since at 7:30 AM, Killington Peak was -10 with 40-60 MPH winds. You wouldn't know those speeds, slow guy....
Hey, if you're gonna be a Lanterne Rouge, then do it right! IKER FLORES rules!

2005 TdF Lanternes Rouges
• Stage 1: Leonardo Piepoli
• Stage 2: Leonardo Piepoli
• Stage 3: Leonardo Piepoli
• Stage 4: Iker Flores
• Stage 5: Janeck Tombak
• Stage 6: Steve Zampieri (DNF7)
• Stage 7: Janeck Tombak
• Stage 8: Iker Flores
• Stage 9: Iker Flores
• Stage 10: Iker Flores
• Stage 11: Iker Flores
• Stage 12: Iker Flores
• Stage 13: Iker Flores
• Stage 14: Iker Flores
• Stage 15: Iker Flores
• Stage 16: Iker Flores
• Stage 17: Iker Flores
• Stage 18: Iker Flores
• Stage 19: Iker Flores
• Stage 20: Iker Flores
• Stage 21: Iker Flores

Anonymous's picture
Peter (not verified)
Jimmy Casper won it twice

"Jimmy Casper won it twice. Check this out:

Jimmy Casper in IMAX film
The two-time Lanterne Rouge of the Tour de France, Jimmy Casper, is featured in the newly-released IMAX film ""Wired to Win"", which was filmed during the 2003 Tour. ""... Casper goes down in a sickening mass crash early in the race. The French cyclist gamely continues riding for several days in a neck brace before calling it quits, and his misfortune is the filmmakers' stroke of luck as we see how Casper's brain adapts to his injuries.""

· 2005: Iker Flores
· 2004: Jimmy Casper
· 2003: Hans de Clerq
· 2002: Igor Flores
· 2001: Jimmy Casper
· 2000: Olivier Perraudeau
· 1999: Jacky Durand
· 1998: Damien Nazon

BTW, the comment about Ulrich not being to climb was an inside joke. Just poking some fun at two dough boys who like to eat!

Mount Mansfield was –10 degrees with 80 mph winds last Sunday. Guess who was outside, doin' at least 40 mph, party boy?

Anonymous's picture
Richard Rosenthal (not verified)
...making Pantani's accomplishment all the more remarkable

...coming at the end of a long stage, preceded by other climbs.

Anonymous's picture
Stephen (not verified)
Yes, all the more remarkable (nm).
Anonymous's picture
Derek (not verified)
But Pantani had his demons and EPO?

"His career and pride went downhill though after he was kicked out of the '99 Giro. I recently learned that Giro d'Italia's organizers dedicate a mountain pass to Pantani's memory every year - ""Cima Pantani"".

Peter - I'll re-name the hill on Churchill for you, slow guy - ""Cima Brevetto"".

Venga Vino!"

Anonymous's picture
Peter (not verified)

Is that a compliment or a slam? I guess we could ask the Runcible to name a sandwich after you!

Andiamo Basso!

Anonymous's picture
jacob (not verified)
Pantani and doping

There is no proof of any kind that Pantani took EPO or PEDs. Marco Pantani was disqualified from the Giro d'Italia with two days to go NOT because his blood tested positive for EPO, but because his hematocrit of 52 was above 50 what the UCI deems a safe level. There is no doubt that a drug problem existed or exists in the international peloton, but from a doping usage perspective Pantani is no different than many other riders, including Lance.

Anonymous's picture
<a href="">Peter O'Reilly</a> (not verified)
firmly disagree: no proof of any kind

"To me it's quite academic - in my eyes the proof is very convincing Pantani used EPO. Here's why.

Statistically, it is rare, as in uncommon for someone to naturally have a hemocrit level above 50. As for Pantani he did not naturally fall into this demographic class.

To my recollection he never claimed such pre-existing ""condition"" (much like in contrast to all those pro riders who are asthmatics) and I'm sure there's plenty of blood tests that show his hemocrit below 50 in the years prior to the 1999 Giro. If you have a naturally high hemocrit, year-round training at such a high intensity like the pros do - the natural 50 flag should have been waved a long time ago in his career. Racing a grand tour should not spike that number on its own.

Point is there's plenty of pre '99 blood sampling history to show his hemocrit level is well below 50.

Anyway, fast forwarding along, I recall his hemocrit tests showing him below the 50 threshold long after he was thrown out of the 1999 Giro and was under great scrutiny. His performances thereafter were no where near the formidable level of 1999 and earlier. Remember he won back to back grand tours, the Giro and the TdF in the same year and convincingly so. So much so to be an (statistical) outlier performance even at the pro peloton level. For some quick evidence - look at his Alpe D'Huez perofmance.

So what would explain having a hemocrit level above 50?
Severe dehydration will raise hemocrit levels. Even if you are totally stoked with performance enhancing drugs, racing in a state of dehydration over a long stage race is crippling.

My proof is empirical - much like that confirming Heras's *outlier* time trial performance at the end of last year's Vuelta. Contrast that performance with his time trial performance history and that of his rivals and it quite clearly confirms what is indicated by the blood test results.

The numbers - demographics, statistics, blood tests and power-weight ratios, among others *collectively* don't lie."

Anonymous's picture
Peter (not verified)

Derek- ya got 'em goin'!

Anonymous's picture
Derek (not verified)
Strong argument against Il Pirata

"Peter O. makes a strong case for doping by Pantani. Pantani's *outlier* performance in '98 seems to be an anomaly even among top tier peleton riders. I guess in pro cycling, having ""a great race"" (i.e. exceptional to one's career and vs. other pros) over a three week stage Tour could be considered ""unnatural."" A rider's progression over a career or over a season would show marked improvement.

So if Lance was always a strong athlete (triathele, cyclist, etc), and was always a top Stage rider, then his streak of Seven TdF's, shows consistency and thus are not ""outliers"". So either he's consistently been doping or he's always truly been a gifted athlete (helped by a strong support team and smart tactics).

Peter Brevett - You better stop your doping...I think the '06 SIGs are EPO and alcohol free! venga!"

Anonymous's picture
<a href="">Peter O'Reilly</a> (not verified)
Control subject

Pantani's career rose with the introduction and popularity of Epogen. In short, his podium finishes came into being when this drug became available. Once he tested positive, his racing was never at the same level.

Contrast that with Lance Armstrong whom never tested positive despite incredible scrutiny and having been screened *many* times over a much longer duration than Pantani. Additionally, during this time drug screening technology has improved greatly.

Much like Ulrich's, Armstrong's palamares are consistent, not outlier. That cannot be said for Armstrong's former teammates, Heras and Hamilton. See the Alpe D'Huez numbers posted here as an example.

Referencing Armstrong only fortifies matters. He makes an excellent control subject.

Anonymous's picture
Jacob (not verified)

"I disagree that Pantani performance in '98 was an anomaly. He had consistently improved his performance over many years as you can see from his palmares (and remember that the 90's were the winning years of the great Indurain).

Due to the '99 Giro hematocrit sampling, Pantani got a 2-week ""safety"" suspension from the UCI. The hematocrit level is a possible indication of EPO doping, but not a proof.
He could have resumed racing in the same '99 season and put this episode behind as many other riders did.

Instead, the emotionally fragile Pantani hardly touched his bike for years, felt betrayed by the pro-cycling world and lost interest in racing.

It is probably not very well known that Merckx was forced to leave the '69 Giro because of doping sampling, but later in the same season went to the Tour to take his first time victory and put all the doping accusations behind.

On the same line, Armstrong was tested positive for steroids in '99 - which was deemed permitted medical use - but his former personal masseuse says in a book that doctors backdated a prescription, and organizers allowed it, even though the cream wasn't listed on Armstrong's mandatory medical form. And even more concerning, the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) now says that the Armstrong's '99 blood samples tested positive for EPO, but in a context that does not give Armstrong the possibility of a fair trial process and counteranalysis.

Despite the doping allegations, Pantani remains as something of a throwback to the great pure climbers of the past, explosively attacking in the mountains and making the race exciting, rather than grinding his rivals down.

Pantani's palmares:

1993 (Carrera)
5th, Giro del Trentino

1994 (Carrera)
1st, Stages 14 & 15, Giro d'Italia
2nd GC & Best Young Rider, Giro d'Italia
2nd, Stages 12 & 19, Tour de France
3rd GC & Best U25 Rider, Tour de France
3rd, Stage 18, Giro d'Italia
3rd, Stages 11 & 17, Tour de France

1995 (Carrera)
1st, Stages 10 & 14 & Best U25 Rider, Tour De France
1st, Stage 9, Tour de Suisse
3rd, World Championship
13th GC, Tour de France

1996 - he did not race because of a serious crash in milano-torino

1997 (Mercatone Uno)
1st, Stages 13 & 15, Tour De France
2nd, Stage 10, Tour de France
2nd, A travers Lausanne
2nd, Stage 5b, Vuelta al Pais Vasco
2nd, Stage 2, Vuelta a Murcia
3rd GC & Stage 9, Tour de France
3rd, Vuelta al Pais Vasco
3rd, Stage 5, Giro d'Italia

1998 (Mercatone Uno)
1st GC, Stages 11 & 15, Tour de France
1st GC, Stages 14 & 19, Giro d'Italia
1st, Stage 4a, Vuelta a Murcia
2nd, Stages 10 & 16, Tour de France
2nd, Stages 11, 17 & 18, Giro d'Italia
3rd, Stage 20, Tour de France
3rd, Stage 21, Giro d'Italia
3rd, Vuelta a Murcia

1999 (Mercatone Uno - Bianchi)
1st, Stages 8, 15, 19 & 20, Giro d'Italia
1st, Stage 2, Setmana Catalana
1st GC & Stage 4, Vuelta a Murcia
2nd, Stages 14 & 16 in Giro d'Italia

2000 (Mercatone Uno)
1st, Stages 12 & 15, Tour de France
3rd, Stage 14, Tour de France
2nd, Stage 19, Giro d'Italia


Anonymous's picture
<a href="">Peter O'Reilly</a> (not verified)

While it is true that a hematocrit level is not 100% proof of EPO doping in itself considering the other _correlated_ factors at play it definitely lays a strong foundation for such conclusion.

How else would you explain Pantani's unusually high hemocrit level? It is my understanding that a level above 50 is exceptionally rare. If Panatani was such a rare natural exception, he surely would have been tooting his horn quite a bit about it.

Epogen was available in 1989 to the common public, in the US at least. The year you cite, 1998 was the year of the Festina drug scandal. And those riders were not busted for using a topical cream to treat saddle sores. That is what you are referring to with Armstrong testing positive for steroids.

Regarding steroids, it's no surprise to me that Barry Bonds has been (still is?) using steroids.

In the case of Barry, he not only would hit a homer run, but knock it out of the park. Sure you list Panatani's palmares, but you don’t list by what margin his victories were (e.g. time differences - nor do I expect you to a sit would be totally unreasonable).

It's easy to see Bond's stats and see how it is so that he's been on the juice. It's also quite easy to see how his physique changed over the course of his career with steroid usage.

With cycling and it's performance enhancing drugs we don't have that luxury of pyhsical observation. Additionally, I don't have the luxury of time to research this - compiling numbers, performing regression analysis, etc. (Incidentally, I've been working on a winter project compiling historical Mt Washington v. Whiteface Mtn bike results. That's much simpler in scope and a major investment of time)

I'm sure with a little bit of rigor, the racing stat numbers would tell the same story as the high hemocrit readings, the correlation of erythropoietin and enhanced race results of the pro peloton.

Without such rigor, I only make such assertions after the fact with Pantani and his high hemocrit reading. (Likewise the same with Bonds)

One or two others allude to other (or all) racers being cheats. Perhaps they are, but since they have not tested positive, I assume they are not. Honestly, I don't care much and don't give it much thought whether or not they are.

Let's assume for the sake of argument, everyone is a cheat, meaning they take illegal performance enhancing drugs. I think a good metaphor would be while the rest of the peloton is driving 55-60 mph on a highway with a 55 mph speed limit. Pantani got busted driving 75 mph. It's much like hitting the ball out of the park, literally.

There’s a current best selling book entitled, Freakonomics. One of the coauthors is a Univ. of Chicago economics professor. Within this book, there’s a chapter illustrating how Chicago public school teachers and professional sumo wrestlers both cheat. It did so not by catching the school teachers filling out the students’ answers for the standardized test on video tape, but rather through statistical analysis. (The incentive for them to cheat was to get more federal money for school funding). Likewise the same was done for sumo wrestling – no wire tapping, but rather statistical analysis.

Incidentally, the evidence was conclusive enough to have school teachers fired over the research work he and others had done. As for sumo wrestling, two industry insiders in Japan blew the whistle on cheating and somehow mysteriously disappeared (yakuza, anyone?)

In the book he mentioned how an American pro cyclist had asked him to research if pro cyclists in Europe cheat. Unfortunately that was all that was written in the book. I reckon if he did such research (maybe he did) and published it, he would become the next Salman Rushdie or be in financial ruin with libel lawsuits occuring in perpetuity.

Anonymous's picture
Peter (not verified)

I knew I never should have told you about that crash in 2004 when my leg was bleeding profusely and someone told me it must be the EPO that was causing it. I also told you that I was taking aspirin, which is a blood thinner. See how people can be wrongly accused, especially when some apple-pie eating rider spreads rumors?!

Anonymous's picture
Derek (not verified)
Ride like Vino without doping!

"""Alexandre Vinokourov, the swashbuckling T-Mobile rider who has been one of the main animators of this year's race. He's had real high points and several low ones in the Tour, bursts of speed which dynamited the bunch in the mountains and also moments of weaknesses which saw him slip right back. The Kazakhi's unpredictable but exciting, a born attacker who rides on adrenaline and impulse rather than plans and logic.""

Just don't crash esp. on SIGS. And don't ride with apple-pie eaters!"

Anonymous's picture
Peter (not verified)

I just saw Stephen Baldwin denouncing porn and strip clubs on Good Morning America. He was being interviewed at the Runcible Spoon. Reminded me of Derek sitting at the Spoon and attacking his lunch in true Vino style.

Anonymous's picture
Derek (not verified)
Baldwin is on EPO

I guess Stephen Baldwin hasn't been at the Spandex Spoon when it's filled with lean, sweaty bikers in tight lyca....

Reminds me of Peter in spandex- almost as cute as Ullrich with his new 'do. Too bad you ride like a weenie.

Anonymous's picture
Ivy (not verified)
You two should get a room. (nm)
Anonymous's picture
Peter (not verified)

Well, at least someone replied with a funny comment!

I have to say, that Lycra comment was little a too much. I would hope you wouln’t have really remembered what I look like in spandex. Cute???? I actually feel like streudelboy since I have been sick all week and have not been able to work out. Ride like a weenie? Can’t you ever get your mind off of food?

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