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July 07, 2004

US Postal takes team time trial; Armstrong in yellow

US Postal took the team time trial. Armstrong is in yellow, and the real leaders will start to emerge on GC.

Phonak finished 2nd on the day, 67 seconds back, but that will be capped at 20 seconds.

Illes Balears-Banesto, at 1:15, are capped at 30 seconds, and so on.

Top 10:
1) US Postal                    1.12.03
2) Phonak                       at 1:07 adjusted - :20
3) Illes Balears                at 1:15 adj - :30
4) T-Mobile                      at 1:19 adj - :40
5) CSC                            at 1:46 adj - :50
6) Rabobank                    at 1:53 adj - 1:00
7) Liberty Seguros            at 2:25 adj - 1:10
8) Euskaltel - Euskadi        at 2:35 adj - 1:20
9) Saeco                         at 2:37 adj - 1:30
10) Alessio - Bianchi            at 2:57 adj - 1:40

Early reports are that this puts US Postal in the Top 5 on the general classification (GC), much as last year:

1. Lance Armstrong (USP)
2. George Hincapie (USP) at 10"
3. Floyd Landis (USP) at 16"
4. Jose Azevedo (USP) at 22"
5. Jose Luis Rubiera (USP) at 24"
6. Jose Enrique Gutierrez (PHO) at 27"
7. Viatcheslav Ekimov (USP) at 30"
8. Tyler Hamilton (PHO) at 36"
9. Santos Gonzalez (PHO) at 37"
10. Bert Grabsch (PHO) at 41"

Looking at the team leaders, and anyone else I'm keeping an eye on, it's:

1) Armstrong (USPS)
2) Hamilton (Phonak) at 36"
3) Jens Voigt (CSC) at 43"
4) Ullrich (T-Mobile) at 55"
5) Bobby Julich (CSC) at 1:00
6) Francisco Mancebo (Illes Balears) at 1:01
7) Levi Leipheimer (Rabobank) at 1:08
8) Ivan Basso (CSC) at 1:17
9) Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano (Liberty Seguros) at 1:29
10) Roberto Heras (Liberty Seguros) at 1:45
11) Carlos Sastre (CSC) at 2:02
12) Fabian Cancellara (Fassa Bortolo) at 2:25
13) Robbie McEwen (Lotto-Domo) at 2:29
14) Laurent Brochard (AG2R) at 2:30
15) Richard Virenque (Quick Step) at 2:39
16) Sylvain Chavanel (Brioches la Boulangere) at 2:45

Others:
Gilberto Simoni (Saeco) at 3:22
Iban Mayo (Euskaltel-Euskadi) at 5:27
Haimar Zubeldia (Euskaltel-Euskadi) at 5:33
Christophe Moreau (Credit Agricole) at 5:58
Michael Rogers (Quick Step) at 6:16
Magnus Backstedt (Alessio-Bianchi) at 9:09 (and the roads haven't turned up yet!)
Benjamin Noval (US Postal) at 22:37
Bradley McGee (Fdjeux.com) at 22:49

And our new lanterne rouge:
Davide Bramati (Quick Step) at 27:51

Bramati and a few others were dropped by their teams during the TTT, and had to straggle in alone (or in one pair's case, with a teammate). Eddy Seigneur of RAGT was also dropped, but couldn't finish within the time limit, and was eliminated.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 7, 2004 in Bobby Julich, Bradley McGee, Christophe Moreau, Fabian Cancellara, George Hincapie, Gilberto Simoni, Iban Mayo, Jan Ullrich, Jens Voigt, Jose Enrique Gutierrez, Lance Armstrong 2004, Levi Leipheimer, Magnus Backstedt, Robbie McEwen, Roberto Heras, Stage results, Top Stories, Tour news, Tyler Freaking Hamilton, Viatcheslav Ekimov | Permalink

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Comments

Lance/Johan "early attack" strategy in the first week has been successful. If Hamilton and Ullrich wait until the late 2nd/3rd week to counterattack (that strategy of course dependent upon Lance faltering) the race may already be over!

Posted by: Jason O. at Jul 7, 2004 11:40:20 AM

It would seem that beating another team's time as soundly as Postal did today over Phonak and T Mobile should stand as is. They were both beaten and then given time back. I must say, I do question the validity and fairness of this ruling. Falling, crashing, missing a turn, these are all part of what is the greatest event in sports in the world. A champion rider will deal with the same things but perhaps, as he is a more cagey rider, beat the odds on those events happening to him or his team. He should not be handicapped for being the best.

I really question the fairness of this rule change.

Posted by: Michael at Jul 7, 2004 11:55:03 AM

Even though US Postal's time win won't count as high as it should (I agree with you Michael), it WILL put a serious dent in the confidence of the other teams. To win the stage with such as large margin of victory has to really impact the overall morale of all of Lance's rivals.

Great day for USPS! Viva la LANCE!!!

Posted by: mashby at Jul 7, 2004 12:03:16 PM

The time that a rider is beaten by should stand, regardless of whether it's a few seconds or many minutes. This is unfair to someone such as Lance and the USPS team who have logged countless hours in training and preparation. Mercy rule in softball, sure, not in the Tour....please.

Posted by: marcel at Jul 7, 2004 12:12:14 PM

Is everyone in love with Lance Armstrong??

Lets consider a few things........Phonak early on in their time trial had to stop and turn around to wait for a fallen rider. They also managed to pull off that time with only five riders at the finish compared to UPS's 8.

Phonak looks dangerous...this may be Tyler's year.

Posted by: Phonak Phourever at Jul 7, 2004 12:20:16 PM

Phonak....lets consider this also.....after the first split time US POstal was well behind...with all radio communication...and real time communication all riders have during the time trial....each team knows exactly where they stand....Phonak did great....no doubt....should be...and are being commended....but US postal would have literally gone back in time if needed to make this stage the're own if needed.....

Posted by: Geoff Howitt at Jul 7, 2004 12:32:36 PM

That American olympic team is formidable.....Tyler and Lance as the two time trialists, wowsers. The question is whether or not they'll have any motivation or energy to be racing in August.

Posted by: Phonak Phourever at Jul 7, 2004 12:47:20 PM

I know it won't last long, but that GC top five list is a thing of beauty.

Posted by: lancefan at Jul 7, 2004 1:30:28 PM

Congrats, well done to Phonak overcoming the setback in the TTT. Unfortunately, this underscores the problem many predicted with the green and yellow: In week 3, when the USPS and TMobile heavy artillery begins to fire, can Hamilton make it with only Sevilla at his side??

Posted by: Jason O. at Jul 7, 2004 1:39:00 PM

I love the TTT as a spectacle, but don't think it should be in the Tour. The idea that a rider might fail to win the Tour not because of any weakness of their own, but because their team-mates aren't as good at time-trialing as the winner's team-mates seems wrong to me. I know that cycling is a team sport, but at least on normal stages you have to ride away from your rival to make time on him, and on individual time trials you don't get any help making time on your rival. The TTT, great to watch though it is, should be dropped.

Posted by: Tim at Jul 7, 2004 5:11:08 PM

Tim,

It's funny, but I think you don't like the TTT for the same reason I do. We both agree that cycling is a team sport, so I like the TTT because it makes it clear what teams are the strongest, and gives a little recognition to the team side.

When we move to the mountains, the teams are still important; that's why you see people speculating that Hamilton may be isolated, and it's part of why Armstrong has done so well in Tour climbs, since for 75 percent of the climb, he's surrounded by team help. It just takes a little more discernment to understand how the teams are helping in the mountains.

It's not like a team that feels the TTT is important can't find a few roleurs for their Tour squad; it's just that some teams overload their roster with climbers. Today is payback for that.

Posted by: Frank at Jul 7, 2004 7:53:57 PM

Frank,

I think the difference is that when Lance is getting help in the mountains, anyone else that wants it has access to that same help; they can sit on his wheel. In the TTT, there's nothing that an individual in a weak team can do.

Posted by: Tim at Jul 8, 2004 11:05:42 AM

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