Sunday, July 03, 2005

Opening Time Trial

Wow, that was some display. Armstrong put over a minute on his main rivals in the 2005 Tour. Ullrich lost 1:06 I think. Some of the climbers lost over 3:00. That is crazy fast. There are a lot of people thinking two contradictory thoughts right now: (1) This is Lance's last Tour, and I really want to beat him to prove he CAN be beaten. And (2), I can't wait until Lance retires.

Of course, we have a long way to go, and anything could happen along the way. But Armstrong is careful and better prepared that anyone. Mentally prepared, physically prepared, with a superb team and the best support system money can buy.

I read in interesting interview with Chris Horner, who is doing his inaugural Tour this year (at age 33). He basically said that Armstrong starts out ahead of all his rivals, before you consider talent, scouting the course, tactics, or any of the other things Lance is known for. He is ahead first and foremost because he is willing to spend the money it takes to care for himself. If he wants to train longer, his support staff works around it. If they have to stay up until midnight getting his bikes ready for the next day, they do so. If he needs a massage at 3:00am, he has one. These support people are invaluable to his physical and mental health while preparing for the Tour. Nobody else keeps this kind of support around all the time. So all other things being equal, he wins.

Of course, all other things aren't equal. He has one of the most efficient bodies ever measured. Rivaling the greats of cycling and really, all sport. Miguel Indurain, the great Spanish cyclist who won five consecutive Tours in the early 90s, had a resting hear rate of 28 beats per minute. Armstrong is in that category.

Basically, he's a freak. And he's driven like no other to capitalize on those abilities. That's why he wins.

2 comments:

Kevin said...

That opening stage was amazing. And today's team time trial proves that anything can happen to the Yellow Jersey. Looks like Zabrinskie might be out with busted rips, which is too bad.

BTW, I am sure you knew this, but Horner is from Bend.

chief said...

Yeah. I've actually met Chris Horner a couple of times. He won the Twilight (in Athens) and finished second a couple of times. He was a bike shop employee in OR for a long time, always trying to make it as a pro. One day he quit and started using a traditional European training program (this is around 1995-6).

Ride a hundred miles Monday.
Ride a hundred miles Tuesday.
Ride a hundred miles Wednesday.
etc.

That year he came out of nowhere and won two stages of the last Tour Du Pont.

Funny guy, too.