Author Topic: Has the tour changed your opinion of Lance? (probably containing spoilers)  (Read 4360 times)

I still wouldn't be surprised to see Lance launch an attack either with or without Contador. After all, Contador is in a strong position, riding well, outclassing everyone and doesn't appear to be under serious threat.

LEE

Lee, ask Joe Public to name 3 road cyclists now.  They won't be able to.  They certainly won't be able to in 3 weeks when the Tour is over and cycling coverage in this country is over for another year.

It's all to do with hype and the fact that in this country (and the US), we only care about the Tour.  So that Armstrong never rode the Giro until last year doesn't matter, that he didn't ride the worlds for a number of years while winning the tour doesn't matter, etc.  It's an intelligent commercial decision to maximise his chances of winning the tour, making money and keeping a well funded team around him.  It's not the decision of the greatest champion ever.   It doesn't lessen my admiration for what he has achieved.  It does make me feel that the likes of Merckx are greater champions (and that's within the same sport, there are others elsewhere)...

I never even mentioned "who is the greatest champion ever", you brought that up.

Ask the UK public to name 3 road cyclists now and they will name Lance Armstrong, perhaps Wiggins or Cavendish (if you ask them in the next 10 days) but they will name Lance Armstrong.  Ask them again in 10 years and they will name Armstrong.

He's transcended cycling like Ali transcended boxing.  Like him or loathe him, he's now bigger than the sport of cycling.  He's achieved legendary status.

Until someone wins 8 TdFs people will always name Armstrong because his record will be mentioned throughout every TdF until they do.

7 consecutive TdF victories !! It gives me pleasure just to know that that annoys some people (is that so wrong of me?)

DuncanM.  You think Lance just beat a fat Ulrich?  What, for 7 years he just had to beat a fat Ulrich?That's just showing a complete ignorance of the sport and devalues any of your other observations.

I'm telling you that ANY other road cyclist would trade ANY other events if they could guarantee 7 consecutive TdFs.  the reason they don't (as TG points out) is that they are trying to mitigate thier losses, they haven't got the confidence to hang their entire season on one race.

Many athletes target a specific event at the expense of others.

My main gripe though, with all the bile spouted about lance's arrogance, is that I have never heard him being anything but gracious or honest.

Can someone give me a link to a Youtube video of him being an arse?

PS.  When I was about 11 I, like many millions of other people, used to set their alarms for the early hours just so we could watch Muhammad Ali fight for the World title on TV.

When Muhammad Ali fought it was a global event.

When Muhammad Ali appeared on "Parkinson" it was a national event.

Lance is good, Lance is a legend but he's no Muhammad Ali.

For those that think Muhammad Ali was just a great boxer I suggest you do some research.

PS.  I have 3 framed photos in my home office.

Fred Dibnah
Lance Armstrong
Muhammad Ali

My "Hero's Wall" is a work in progress.

I have. Rocky Marciano was one of their favoured boxers, plus several from the early 20th century.
It says something to me that people will rate a boxer that they have neveer seen above one who they have, and who did things not done before.  Remember, there are people within boxing who dislike Ali, especially for what he did refusing the draft and becoming muslim. But maybe that's another parallel with Lance. ;)

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Different weights need a slightly different style. It's quite common for some boxers to fight at a heavier weight category then slim down to fight at a lighter weight. A lot of boxing fans prefer lightweight boxing because they say it is more skilled.

Sure, it's about more than just 1 punch at the lower divisions.  You get far fewer bangers at the lower divisions, and they get found out more frequently (Hatton maybe being a case in point).  Ali was a boxer, not a banger though.  And the guys who move around tend to do so at lower weights.  Heavyweight has no upper limit, so it's not like if you put on 4 or 5 pounds you can move up - it is possible that you have to shift several stone in order to go down a division.

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Blimey! you're 'avin a go at Ullrich now! ;D I think that Ullrich was a very worthy oponent and made Lance suffer an awful lot. I'm sure that Lance has the upmost respect for Ullrich. Merckx thought that Ullrich was a very impressive rider. Some think it an injustice that such a talented rider who was a worthy TDF winner had Lance as his opponent.

Ulrich was a very talented rider, who, if he had applied himself and provided the level of dedication Lance had, would have been much tougher competition.  But you have to question how much he wanted it, given that every year he ended up having to lose 5-10 kilos to get down to his racing weight.  I acknowledge that he was also unlucky with injuries, but I don't have much sympathy for self induced ones (eg drunken car crashes).

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And if you can't compete financially with his team, you can't think about winning the tour. 


Dunno? Money certainly helps and there is a minimum cost. Isn't that just the way it's all going? It's all controlled by capitalism. (That's why I like Graeme Obree, he flew in the face of it all)

I agree about Obree.  I don't think it's a natural progression though.  I can't see why Kloden or Leipheimer ride at Astana (especially if Lance stays).  I think it's just cash.  If Kloden or Leipheimer were at other teams, they would be working out how to beat Lance\Contador.

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Cycling is changing. The TDF is avery different race to it's original. Cyclists are becoming more specialised and there are new types of cycling developing. I think that Lance is ahead of his time. Merckx rode (and won) everything. But if there was an Eddy Merckx clone riding now, he couldn't do it because there are too many events.
I don't think that's true.  Sure, you have to pick a grand tour to focus on, because you can't really win 2 (then again, people said that before Roche and before Indurain too), but there's no reason why you can't carry on from the Tour and ride the classics then, or ride the Vuelta and the Tour of Lombardy and the Worlds.  Even marathon runners have several objectives in 1 season.

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The only public eye difference in the time I've been watching the Tour (pre-post Lance) is that it's moved from being half an hour on Channel 4 every evening, to being an hour on ITV4.  That's not progress or increased popularity.

But this is England, his domain is America really. Besides, media coverage is all about the allmighty dollar. It has to compete with popularist programmes and much more popular sports such as football.
At least as a non TV owner, I can watch it on the net. This is the first tour I've watched (from last week) for over a decade.
I can't speak for the perception of cycling as a sport in the US, I'm just talking about what I perceive in the UK.  And you could watch Eurosport on the net last year.  :)

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Edit to say that this tour, and especially after yesterday's stage (just watched the highlights) he's generally been smart and sensible, and in credit with me.  I think that at the start his ego was writing cheques his body couldn't cash, but he's now accepted that. So kudos to him for that, especially if he rides for Contador from here on in...

I don't think it was about an ego trip. I just don't think that he thinks in that way.
Kudos to you too for being open minded. :thumbsup:
I don't see what other way there is to see it.  If he wanted to push his charity, he's have got as much publicity joining bruneel in the team car.  If it were Astana Livestrong, his charity would have got more publicity.  His comments last year were basically that the current crop of riders suck.  So he figured he could do better and came back to prove it.  I've yet to see a better explanation for his comeback.  Since he got there, he's realised that Contador is the real deal, and has had the guts to admit it.  So the way he has conducted himself in the last week has nothing but admiration from me.

The other thing that irritates me is that his biological passport isn't complete - he didn't announce his comeback in time to start the out of competition stuff early enough.  No-one else got a pro license without it.  So the UCI has literally one set of rules for him and another for everyone else. (Note, this is not me saying that he's on drugs.)

Lee - I was responding to someone else's post on the greatest champion thing. :)
As for legendary status, I agree.  Armstrong is a genuine legend. :) Flintoff has achieved that status (in the UK) too - he cemented it his week. Doesn't make him great.  Doesn't make him the best allrounder of his era (he's certainly behind Kallis, Pollock, Gilchrist), let alone the best cricketer.  It doesn't bother me that they have achieved what they have achieved, or that they get recognition for it.  The only thing that bothers me is that they eclipse all others, some of whom, I would argue were better.  And no, I don't think it's wrong of you.  Just like how so many english cricket fans are enjoying Ponting getting his comeuppance. :)

Everyone - sorry for the essay.  ::-) ;)

I have always liked him.  He is near my age so that helps.
I can understand what other people say about making it boring etc, but for me, that does not detract from him at all.  Clever riding, dominating power, beyond equal mental attitude. 
I have not been disappointed by him this year either.
I found his surge of effort yesterday heartening, especially the look he gave the Schlecks.

I also enjoy looking at how he interacts with the other riders whether it be on a videoshort or actually in the peleton when riding.

Jakob

I always found him to be an arrogant b*st*rd, but we're getting an awful lot of pre/post race interviews over here and he always comes across very well. Some of it, I bet, is because he *is* there to promote himself/his charity, but he seems really down to earth and relaxed about the whole thing.

So yeah, my opinion has changed.

LittleWheelsandBig

  • Whimsy Rider
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I think he damaged the rest of the sport.  Who else rode the odd classic as a training ride? Who else stopped racing after the Tour?

Who else? Nobody that I know. That's another reason I respect Lance. Any other rider could have done it the Lance Armstrong way. But who was confident enough to base theirentire season on just one race? Not just any race, but the most prestigious in the world. I think that's a very ballsy thing to do. Maybe some would call it arrogant?
Cycling is changing. The TDF is avery different race to it's original. Cyclists are becoming more specialised and there are new types of cycling developing. I think that Lance is ahead of his time. Merckx rode (and won) everything. But if there was an Eddy Merckx clone riding now, he couldn't do it because there are too many events.


Wrong.  Fashions change, in racing as in everything else.

Armstrong focused purely on one race a year while Merckx raced and won for the entire season.  That doesn't mean that the racing is so hard nowadays that only way to win now is concentrate purely on one race.  After all, Contador won the Giro (arguably tougher than the TdF) and Vuelta in the same year quite recently and won Paris-Nice and the Tour de France the year before.
Wheel meet again, don't know where, don't know when...

Ron da Valli

I have no strong opinoin of Armstrong one way or the other. Ok he won 7 consecutive tours, a great acheivement for anyone. As others have said, there's nothing to stop any other pro from concentrating on Le  Tour to the exclusion of many "top" races, after all didn't Indurain start it all? I am a fan of Indurain probably for no other reason than he appeared to be an enigma, rarely giving interviews and/or opinions of other riders. He " dulled"  the tour as well, in my opinion.
  My big gripe is the way that the media portray Lance as " the greatest cyclist ever". Sky sports news kept repeating this whenever they reported on Armstrong's return. Also the way Phil Liggett and Paul ( Laaaance) Sherwin fawn over him whatever happens on the tour. On the two mountain stages where Contador attacked Armstrong they never gave him credit for dropping Lance, just referred to " team orders"
    Come on Phil, your'e worth better than this.



p.s Lee, Fred Dibnah on your heroes wall?  He should be on EVERYONE'S hero wall. A great bloke, one of life's true gents.

Also the way Phil Liggett and Paul ( Laaaance) Sherwin fawn over him whatever happens on the tour. On the two mountain stages where Contador attacked Armstrong they never gave him credit for dropping Lance, just referred to " team orders"

Don't forget that LA has part ownership of Sherwen's goldmine in Africa  ;)

I don't think you can overstate how impressive Armstrongs return is, and that is why he is garnering so much attention.  To come back to the absolute pinnacle of the sport (2nd in TdF in final few days FFS) after 3 1/2 years out of the sport, at an age where everyone else has retired, is a first.

I've never really regarded him as arrogant, although he's clearly not a humble man, but that is part of his winning armoury. Only a fool could have failed to notice how he used to dominate the peloton mentally.  People were scared to attack him. Now that they have seen that he is beatable they are attacking him all over the place. When levels of physical aptitude are more or less the same at the top, it is the mental will that makes someone the winner.

Doping? Of course he did, but why focus on him... Merckx was a doper.

clarion

  • Tyke
True, his mighty self-belief and psychological domination of the peloton is just what Hinault did years back (tho I have more respect for the Badger's riding than LA's)
Getting there...


Seineseeker

  • Biting the cherry of existential delight
    • The Art of Pleisure
Pumpe is right.

Seconded!

As for Lance doing damage to the sport? Come on!? I mean no-one has done more for promoting cycling than Lance Armstrong. No-one has provided the inspiration to people to get on a bike than him. 

He is focused professional wins and is unapologetic about it, that seems to be the main issue. Oh and he is American. I am not sure that I would like him a as person but I have huge respect for him as a professional cyclist.
I think you'll find it's a bit more complicated than that.

Here's an interesting quote from Armstrong today reacting to excitement over his attack yesterday and questions as to whether he could win...

"It will be hard to win," he said in Bourg-St-Maurice yesterday. "Not only is there a guy who has asserted himself in the race and shown he is the best, but he is on my team."

"I remember the years when I was the leader of my team and if someone even remotely considered their own individual interests, we would have sent him home the next day. I don't want to be that guy."

"I don't think Alberto will make a mistake, but you're a minute and a half out, you have a time trial coming up, you do a good one and get a little closer, then the Mont Ventoux climb... You could see where it would be possible, but that is not what I am planning or scheming."


Fair enough.  He said he came to the tour to win (why else would he?), he said, as did Contador, that they would wait to see who the leader was. Now he knows, and he is being pretty humble about it.  Was it arrogance to think he could win?  Not at all... he is after all, in second place.  We shall have to see if he remains true to his word, but he knows that if Contador balls up, he'll still be there.


Also the way Phil Liggett and Paul ( Laaaance) Sherwin fawn over him whatever happens on the tour. On the two mountain stages where Contador attacked Armstrong they never gave him credit for dropping Lance, just referred to " team orders"

Don't forget that LA has part ownership of Sherwen's goldmine in Africa  ;)

I don't think you can overstate how impressive Armstrongs return is, and that is why he is garnering so much attention.  To come back to the absolute pinnacle of the sport (2nd in TdF in final few days FFS) after 3 1/2 years out of the sport, at an age where everyone else has retired, is a first.

I've never really regarded him as arrogant, although he's clearly not a humble man, but that is part of his winning armoury. Only a fool could have failed to notice how he used to dominate the peloton mentally.  People were scared to attack him. Now that they have seen that he is beatable they are attacking him all over the place. When levels of physical aptitude are more or less the same at the top, it is the mental will that makes someone the winner.

Doping? Of course he did, but why focus on him... Merckx was a doper.


What does he have on Richard Williams?  Another fawning article in today's Guardian displaying less than awesome knowledge of the sport:          Lance Armstrong turns on the power for his tilt at glory |
            Sport |
            The Guardian
   


What he has done over the last year is truly remarkable.  No-one can deny that.  FWIW, the bolded bit is inaccurate, he's not the oldest guy on the Tour.  He is the oldest GC contender by a significant margin though.  And as I said above, his recent attitude towards Contador and the team is also imporessive, especially for a guy who was really driven to come back, and really wanted to win.  So the only bad thing I have to say about his attitude during comeback at all is that he didn't sort it out to get on the biological passport program properly.

Part of the reason why he gets more stick for (allegedly) doping is because he's tried to sue people who said he doped.  Yet he managed to out climb the best climber of his generation who was on dope, and out TT the best TTer of his generation while he was on dope, and they never got caught either.  If he admitted it then he'd get a ban, so I can understand why he wouldn't, but the denials, and the lawsuits and the aggressive attitude that goes with it I find OTT.  Compare him with Vaughters, who simply refuses to comment on the idea that his best results were with the Posties and the Posties doped, therefore he doped.  He's clear that it implies he doped, but he's not prepared to incriminate himself directly.  I have far more respect for that than Lance's whole "I'm clean and always have been, and I'll sue you if you claim otherwise" act.  I guess he can't actually acknowledge the doping because he has an image to support (and that image helps his charity which does good things, making it even more complex).  I just find the whole thing hypocritical.


 I have far more respect for that than Lance's whole "I'm clean and always have been, and I'll sue you if you claim otherwise" act.  I guess he can't actually acknowledge the doping because he has an image to support (and that image helps his charity which does good things, making it even more complex).  I just find the whole thing hypocritical.

Vaughters has never had the spotlight on him though, because his success was comparatively negligible.  He has the luxurious position of being able to not deny that he doped.  Armstrong can't. 

Besides, Armstrong has the livelihoods of the likes of Kimmage and Walsh to consider, who have made a career out of unproven allegations and hearsay.  ;)

Riis stopped denying and admitted it when he retired.  So did Zabel (well, he admitted trying it).  I was surprised to see that Rolf Aldag is a directeur sportif now, because he admitted it as well.  A whole bunch of other people from that era have said what they took.  But because Lance tried to sue somoene, he can never admit it.  In 10 years time he'll be saying "I never doped" while the 179 other riders in the tours he won will have admitted it or been caught (including his own team).  Maybe he really was that good. ;) ::-)

I have no opinion on Walsh 'cos I've not read his stuff, but Kimmage's book (Rough Ride - don't know if he's written others) is good, and so is most of what I have read of his journalism (much of which is not cycling related).  I doubt it's possible to be a fan of him and Lance though. ;)

Don't kid yourself..... Riis, Zabel and Aldag only admitted it because they had to.

Right.  And Lance has people showing that his samples failed tests, and team-mates saying that the entire team took it but he doesn't have to (admit it)?

Leaving aside the did he / didn't he doping arguments - I've a grudging admiration for how he rode today. Looked like he would have loved to chase Contador but once he'd missed the initial move chose to work Wiggo over instead. But my opinion of him hasn't changed too much I'm afraid, as has been said he made the tour too dull for too long by being able to "financially?" focus on just one race while his adversaries at the time had to race the whole season.

Also, this year it seems we're seeing a return to the Armstrong style of a team that buys the best domestiques available - not the levellest of playing fields in my book - although perfectly within the rules it seems sowewhat less than sporting to my British sensibilities.

gonzo

This year, I have far more respect for Armstrong; he rode intelligently, interviewed well and wasn't overly dominant. Don't forget, if he'd missed all the splits in the field that the others did, he'd be in 5th.

He seemed incredibly relaxed over the last few days.... almost as if he was actually enjoying it  ;D

ChrisO

I have to say that I have slightly improved my opinion of Armstrong. I was impressed by the way he accepted that he was heading for the third podium place and rode to defend it on the Ventoux stage rather than do anything to jeopardise the team places.

In fact I'd be quite happy to see the peloton let him have a lap of honour on the Champs d'Elysee.

PaulF

  • "World's Scariest Barman"
  • It's only impossible if you stop to think about it
Definitely - I thought that he had a good chance of finishing but not a podium place so he's proved me wrong. And it looks liek he's coming back nextyear with his new team

I wouldn't say that I disliked Indurin, just that I found that his dominance made the tour boring.  But I found that in his last tour, when he was getting beaten I suddenly started rooting for him. 

Possibly similar with LA - five and 2 part years of boring tours during which I wasn't his greatest fan (but bore him no ill-will), but in this tour, when he wasn't the force that he once was, I found myself on his side...not necessarily wanting him to win the tour, but looking for him to grab a mountain top stage in heroic fashion.

Also, I appreciated the fact that he was willing to take a hammering (by his standards) but still continue trying and putting on a good show....unlike one or two others who have launched toys when things didn't go as they wanted.

Given that he's been out so long, and that the comeback didn't go to plan with the crash and so he hadn't been able to prepare for this tour like previous ones, but still did such a good ride, I'm thinking that next year's might be a bit tasty!

So the PR gurus have been earning their corn.

I guess there is more to come out, but if you look slightly between the lines at what Contador has been saying then I guess we have a picture that is somewhat different.

Don't let's forget that Contador joined Astana as team leader. After he had signed, and everything agreed, Armstrong is parachuted in, at Armstrong's insistence. Armstrong is best mates with Brunyeel, and will in all likelihood be his employer again next year. Contador is under contract and can't go elsewhere.

It's a bit like Columbia finding a sprinter who is almost as fast as Cavendish, and then trying to committ the train to the newcomer.

Hats off to Contador; many riders would have cracked under the pressure.