July 17, 2003
cyclingnews.com rider's diaries update: Landis, Rodriguez
When we were going up the Lauteret [Stage 9], I thought we would just ride up that climb, but people ganged up on us. People had no right to be attacking us, and for that matter, how they were attacking us! Some of those guys were back in the grupetto 15 minutes after they attacked. It just didn't make any sense to me.
I don't know where those cops came from when they removed those protesters...all of a sudden there were 20 cops beating on these guys. They were not being nice; they were kicking them and then picked them up by their legs and dragged them off the road. You wouldn't do that in America.
Yesterday on the stage to Marseille we were hoping for a sprint since I was the designated guy, but a big group went early and we rode in pretty easy considering the sweltering heat. There were plenty of guys who were no threat on gc that wanted to give it shot because they knew that Tuesday was one of the few days they could get away. With Petacchi at home, the big sprint threats are McEwen, Cooke and O'Grady. At this point, Stuey and Erik Zabel should be stronger as the other sprinters have been weakened by the mountains.
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Can some one explain Landis' first comment? I don't get the "no right to attack us" part. Maybe I don't quite understand what he means by "attack" in a bicycle race context.
Posted by: Howard Fore at Jul 17, 2003 12:14:46 PM
That was part of why I excerpted that. It's sort of strange. Bernard Hinault, who won the Tour 5 times, said, "While I breathe, I attack," but I think Landis means that it's in no one's interest to launch a self-destructive attack.
The gruppetto is the “laughing group,“ where riders who have been dropped huddle together, struggling to beat the day's time cutoff. Finishing one day with the gruppetto means you won't compete on the overall.
Also, Angelo Casero of Team Bianchi was accused somewhere (can't find it right now) of riding for himself, rather than for Jan Ullrich, his team leader. There were a couple of points during the Alps where Casero was up the road in advance of Ullrich. Whether that's team strategy -- trying to force the Postals to chase more breaks -- or not is debatable.
Posted by: Frank Steele at Jul 17, 2003 12:34:10 PM
Ok, but what does "attack" mean in this context?
Posted by: Howard Fore at Jul 17, 2003 12:40:30 PM
An attack is any move off the front of the peloton. A successful attack may become a breakaway if it gains enough time to have a reasonable chance of winning the stage.
If Armstrong had more of a cushion, Postal could ignore more attacks (as they did on the road to Marseille on Tuesday), because they would only have to worry about a few riders that could reduce (or eliminate) Armstrong's overall lead.
Posted by: Frank at Jul 17, 2003 12:53:54 PM