July 20, 2005
Armstrong in April
Photo by Frank Steele
Armstrong, Hincapie, and Popovych went to the front in response to another Vinokourov attack, but they stayed there all the way to the finish, pulling like tug-o-war anchormen. Armstrong himself was taking some serious pulls when the main field broke, and the suggestion was made that his motivation was to move Landis down the GC.
Certainly, the only gain for the team was 20 seconds in the white jersey contest.
Here's what Armstrong told cyclingnews.com about today's late attack:
After the stage, maillot jaune Lance Armstrong told it how he saw it: "They [T-Mobile] rode the last 25, 30k with pretty good crosswinds and they rode it fast. There was a big acceleration from them and especially Vino and Jan on the final climb to try and distance Rasmussen and Basso, because they're more or less at three minutes from a podium spot. I turned around, and there was less than 10 guys there and we had three, so it definitely pays to ride at the front," he said.
Landis @ Hog Pen Gap
Photo by Frank Steele
“In some teams they often talk about their friendship, but in a team like that with someone who behaves as if he really is the boss, I don’t think you can go that far in talking about friendship. In everyday life it’s hard to be friends with your boss. I don’t believe that Lance has ever had that kind of friendship with any of his team-mates, even with George Hincapie, whom he has known since he was 17. Friendship can’t exist when you give orders and direct others. It’s not necessarily a negative thing. It’s by acting in this way that Lance has been able to win the Tour so often.”
Apparently, words were also exchanged yesterday on the way down the Marie Blanque.
This is an ongoing spat. The first I remember of it was when Dave Aiello pointed out Armstrong "pointing defiantly" back at Landis when he lost the Tour de Georgia's yellow jersey.
Then, at June's Dauphiné Libéré, Armstrong worked with Vinokourov and Leipheimer against Landis: Even Graham Watson commented that "This is Lance's way of showing Landis what life is like 'after US Postal' -- and there will be more to come in the Tour de France, be sure of that."
A good source for information on Landis and his relationship with Lance Armstrong is the new Armstrong biography Lance Armstrong's War.
Oh, this alleged ongoing lover's quarrel is way overblown, in my opinion. If you're the maillot jaune and you've got a string team and good legs, you're going to let T-Mobile steal time in the last few kilometers for what - just to salve your ex-teammate's pride? Ullrich and Vinokourov clearly wanted to get time on their immediate GC rivals, Armstrong and Discovery had no problems sticking with them, and if Floyd (and Levi, and and and) simply didn't have the legs or technical savvy to jump away with them, it's their loss. Note that I'm not putting it past LA (who clearly can show a vindictive, bullying side when he takes a dislike to someone) to want to rub it in a bit more, but we shouldn't just *assume* that it was personal - this is competitive pro cycling, fer cryin' out loud. T-Mob had good reason to attack, and Discovery didn't want to get shown up - seems pretty simple to me.
Posted by: EWM at Jul 21, 2005 2:19:32 PM
Whoops, that should've read "strong team." Although after the hardships of the mountains, "string team" might well be an apt description for the way many of the teams must be feeling physically. ;)
Posted by: EWM at Jul 21, 2005 2:22:15 PM
From Procycling.com: "Landis received some very audible opinions from the yellow jersey as they came down the Marie Blanque..."
From rec.bicycling.com: "A friend who watches French TV said Lance was standing on his pedals yelling and gesturing while Floyd ignored him..."
That's some pretty juicy stuff! Does anyone have details beyond this?
By the way, I'm a big Floyd fan (especially after his ride over the "Col de Floyd" in last year's Tour), but I'll bet Phonak was hoping for something other than the casual approach he seems to have taken in this Tour. They paid him a lot more than what Discovery was going to offer and probably had some expectations attached.
Friendship is nice, but Discovery Channel puts $15 million into their team and I'm sure Phonak puts up a similar amount and anytime you talk about that much money then I think it qualifies as a business.
Will Floyd go the way of Heras or will he be a player next year?
Posted by: Rex Casteel at Jul 21, 2005 2:54:20 PM
Daniel Coyle's book ("Lance Armstrongs's War") uses "the 14 cappuccino incident" as a launch pad to tell the story of Lance and Floyd.
It's interesting to contrast the "Every Second Counts" version of this same day.
Apparently, Floyd took a rainy day off and stayed in a coffee house all day.
Daniel Coyle's recount has Lance pissed because Floyd drank so much coffee.
"Every Second Counts" has Lance saying "the time to act as a professional is now - you ride when it rains 'cause you are likely to have to race in the rain and tomorrow is not a 2 hour ride with [teammate x] but, instead, it's a 5 hour ride with me."
In short, according to Lance, this is the day that he took Floyd under his wing.
P.S. - The quotes are just paraphrasing. I read both books to get warmed up for the Tour.
Posted by: Rex Casteel at Jul 21, 2005 3:03:38 PM
Landis might have been wondering that with the same basic physiology as Greg LeMond,why is clinging to ninth while Armstrong routinely delivers 500 watts whenever he feels like it. For you tour amateurs Ican assure there was a time when true champions like Hinault,LeMond and Fignon sorted out the climbs themselves without the relays of dubious teammates discovering climbing talent in their tenth professional year. The drunken louts that line the climbs are too wasted to care and you OLN clones who think it is grand to climb mountain passes at 25k with no hands I offer you the considered opinion of Dr.Michele Ferrari.EPO is no more dangerous than orange juice.The Tour has been a charade for 15 years.
Posted by: Andrew Turco at Jul 22, 2005 6:31:13 PM
I can't resist. At the risk of descending to a "rec.bicycles.racing" type of discourse, here's a translatation of what I think Andrew is saying:
1. Lance blood dopes and Floyd does not.
2. The sport was way better before the team approach to competition was evolved.
I could be wrong. Andrew, please correct me if this is the case.
Posted by: Rex Casteel at Jul 22, 2005 9:00:40 PM
Before the team approach to competion, sponsorship and outside funding weren't such a big deal. Time moves on, it's a different world. For instance, look at the difference between pro-tennis in the 1920s or 1950s to now, the 2000s.
Posted by: Devans at Jul 23, 2005 10:14:52 AM
You got it Rex! The sport isn't that complicated. Prior to 1991, no multiple Tour de France winner 'developed' ability in his mid to late twenties. All the multiple winners, or even contenders, either won or podiumed in their first tour. Team work is completely overrated, unless the whole team is climbing at 25-30k, then you would pick up a draft. The sight of the entire Postal team coming up to the Col d'Agnes in the Pyrenees in 2004 was obscene. And also completely uninteresting. I suspect the blood testing of samples going back to '91 will reveal that all the Tour winners since that date were using EPO.
Posted by: Andrew Turco at Oct 5, 2005 12:50:19 PM
USA procyling-->Drugs, drugs,drugs and drugs.
Landis-Armstrong-->Fuck, fuck,fuck and fuck.
Sorry but that true!
Allez la France
Posted by: Old France at Jul 27, 2006 3:15:43 PM