July 27, 2003

It seems as though someone should post a link regarding Lance Armstrong's fifth straight Tour de France win. I guess that someone is me.

For "Discussion" purposes: Does anyone think he'll take it next year?

posted by Luke to other at 12:49 PM - 16 comments

Barring injury or crash, yes.

posted by billsaysthis at 01:22 PM on July 27, 2003

Yes. Yay for discussion.

posted by therev at 02:07 PM on July 27, 2003

I have a sneaking suspicion he might take next year off. Perhaps the lure of six-in-a-row (unprecedented in the Tour) will be too much, but I also suspect that the 'things you don't know about' may take precedence. Anyway, next year will have to be a bit special to match this Tour, which has been consistently surprising, enthralling and competitive.

posted by etagloh at 02:20 PM on July 27, 2003

The feel of a classic indeed, eh, etagloh? What a Tour. I think he'll race next year, though; he's simply too great a competitor. Racing has apparently taken a toll on his marriage, but, while he is able, it still seems to be his greatest priority. (Though, really, who knows.) And, assuming he races, chances are he'll win. He won this year with only a single good day by his standards (though he was evidently in complete control of the final time trial, so arguably two good days) and a strong team time trial. That's stunning. And, barring another undisclosed ailment, he's liable to have more than just two good days next year -- even if Ullrich gets stronger, it still won't be enough.

posted by mattpfeff at 07:01 PM on July 27, 2003

I'm not so sure; immense cyclists such as Big Mig and Hinault never managed 6, it is probably more than the human body can endure, without assistance from pharmaceuticals. Mere mortals, such as Ullrich and Vinokourov have shown that you can take him on, and Beloki might have something to say next year. Tyler Hamiltons' is the greatest achievment ever in the sport, any sport in fact, and it will be interesting to see what he can do, and younger, unheard of or unheralded riders might yet come through. It might be too much to ask to expect another classic though. Is that Armstrongs season over? like sprinters in the tour who give up when it suits them, he only ever seems to compete in this one race, then gives it up.

posted by Fat Buddha at 02:36 AM on July 28, 2003

My only question is will he win his seventh straight.

posted by vito90 at 09:07 AM on July 28, 2003

I'm with buddha on this one. As great as he is, this year showed that he can be caught (almost). We all may be witnessing the birth of the next Lance Armstrong in Hamilton. I cannot overstate my impression of him this year--all that in immense pain. That's the kind of focus it takes to win a tour.

posted by trox at 09:07 AM on July 28, 2003

any chance of permanent damage to his shoulder? I imagine three weeks in the saddle through alps could cause some serious stress on an already broken bone.

posted by garfield at 09:13 AM on July 28, 2003

This is why Lance will win again next year:

"Why do you do it?" I asked him once. "What's the pleasure in riding a bike up a mountain for six hours?" "I don't understand the question," he said. "Well, there has to be some pleasure in it," I said. "I mean, your back hurts, your neck hurts, your butt hurts. What's the payoff?" "I still don't understand the question."

posted by monju_bosatsu at 09:32 AM on July 28, 2003

garfield, Hamilton's doctor said in an interview that riding would not cause any further damage to the shoulder. His ability to continue would hinge on whether he could handle the pain. However, it can't be good for your body to fight stress and intense pain for three weeks while cycling up mountains.

posted by dusted at 10:18 AM on July 28, 2003

Isn't Hamilton actually older than Armstrong? Just asking.

posted by jackhererra at 11:09 AM on July 28, 2003

jackhererra: Yes, Hamilton was born March 1, 1971, and Armstrong was born September 18, 1971.

posted by dusted at 12:03 PM on July 28, 2003

Is that Armstrongs season over? like sprinters in the tour who give up when it suits them, he only ever seems to compete in this one race, then gives it up. It's slightly deceptive: because US/UK coverage revolves around the Tour de France, you don't get to hear of Armstrong's early season racing. For instance, as his immediate pre-Tour warmup, he won the seven-stage Dauphiné Libéré in June. Before that he raced in March's Tour of Murcia, then April's Amstel Gold World Cup race and the Liège-Bastogne-Liège Classic (where Tyler Hamilton won). Nowadays, he certainly doesn't compete in the southern hemisphere tours during the winter, nor the Giro d'Italia, nor the Low Countries tours, nor that many of the one-day Classics: he's gone on record about being called a 'one-race rider' by saying that: That term's been around ever since Hinault and Merckx - even Lemond and Ullrich have had to hear it, too. The Tour's such an important event - you are simply faced with the decision about risking Tour de France victory for a Classics win - risk vs. reward… If you see the mess that riders can make of themselves on the Paris-Roubaix, for instance, you can understand that. That said, he still races after the Tour: probably not the Vuelta e España this year, but possibly the Championship of Zurich or San Sebastian, and then the World Championships to round off the season in October. It's just that no-one will notice ;)

posted by etagloh at 03:22 PM on July 28, 2003

Hmm, Hinault, Merkcx, Anquetil, and Indurain all won their share of Giro's so are true greats, I am not so sure that anyone who devotes themselves to one race can be described thus. Even Stephen Roche managed to win one of each.

posted by Fat Buddha at 06:17 AM on July 29, 2003

Only asked about Hamilton's age with regards to him being "the next Lance Armstrong". At age 32, there's not a lot of time left... I appreciate Fat Buddha's point and for that reason, Armstrong's below Merckx, Hinault and Indurain on the list. But it's tough to argue that he's not one of the true greats.

posted by jackhererra at 08:47 AM on July 29, 2003

My tongue was partly in my cheek, the guy is undeniably a legend, albeit an unlikeable one.

posted by Fat Buddha at 03:08 PM on July 29, 2003

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