Tour de France Stage 14
_What an exciting stage. Of course I had to follow it all over my Blackberry’s mobile web access to cyclingnews.com. Pretty cool to do remote though._
The big news of course is that T-mobile blew out the Discovery Team. Boy are those guys strong. With three world class contender, Ullrich, Kloden and Vinokourov. The main question is what does tomorrow hold. Stage 15 is decisive. If T-Mobile can do it again, they isolate Lance with three of their team members vs. just him. It blow out the tactics of Discovery, that is to run at a medium-high pace and take the peloton from 50 to 30 to 15 riders. Instead, T-mobile blew everyone out at the start. If they do it again tomorrow and Lance has an issue, wow that could be bad.
Of course “Chris Carmichael”:http://www.olntv.com/tdf/article/view/1037/?ss=report&tf=DailyReports_read.tpl has the counter view:
bq. For long-time fans of bike racing, today was a mountain stage like the ones we used to see all the time. The team leaders were all isolated from their supporting riders and it was man against man, a battle of legs and wits to see who could reach the mountain top first. If you?re relatively new to the sport, what you saw today was actually normal. The anomaly you?ve seen over the past few years has been Lance Armstrong and the long line of his teammates on major climbs. Today was a classic mountain stage of the Tour de France, and tomorrow is likely to be even more exciting.
bq. The big question on many minds is whether the Discovery Channel team is as strong as it was last year. This question, of course, is coming up because Lance?s teammates were all left behind when T-Mobile attacked en masse at the bottom of the Port de Pailheres. The Discovery Channel team is very strong, but the tactical move by T-Mobile was specifically designed to prevent Lance?s team from setting a strong pace all the way up the penultimate climb. It worked because only the top riders in the peloton, the men aiming to stand on the podium in Paris, were able to follow the acceleration. T-Mobile didn?t just disarm Discovery?s strategy, they isolated all the team leaders, including their own.
bq. It remains to be seen whether T-Mobile?s tactics today will eventually backfire on them. Granted, they didn?t beat Lance Armstrong today, but if part of their strategy is to use their aggression to wear down their opponents, there are several men who had to dig deep today.