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Old 07-09-2006, 01:06 PM
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William William is offline
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Lance Armstrong: My how things change in a couple years

Something clicked inside Lance Armstrong's brain on the first Sunday of April, the day of this years Tour Of Flanders World Cup Classic in Belgium. Up until then, Armstrong recently said, he had decided that he was "out of here in two years." In other words, after collecting a possible Gold medal at the Olympic games to go with the Rainbow jersey he won in 1993, Armstrong was going to quit cycling at the end of 1996. But something happened on that sunny day in April, something that changed his attitude. "Now", he said, "I'm in it for the long haul".

The Texan's decision is intimately related to the Tour De France, about which he had never previously expressed any strong ambitions. When asked what he thinks now of his future in the Tour, he replied, "I don't know if I can, but I'd like to contend at some point." Then, in obvious reference to the accomplishments of Greg Lemond, Armstrong added, "I've seen what the Tour has done for American cycling. In fact, that the Tour is cycling in America."
But don't expect Armstrong to be a contender in this years Tour. "My goal is to finish the race, and get a Tour De France under my belt," he confided. "I look at it as an investment for the future."

Speaking after his third stage win at the recent Tour DuPont, the 23-year-old Motorola racer stated, I'd like to do a good Tour this year. And I'd like to see how I can do with condition like this," referring to the way in which he scorched the opposition on the mountain-top finish at Beech Mountain, North Carolina.
Armstrong realizes that climbing is one of the keys to performing well at the Tour, but the high mountains are never going to be one of his favorite terrains. "I'm a big guy", he said. "I'm big-boned...and I can't change that." He is getting smaller, though: In his more then two years as a professional, he has lost more then 10 pounds, and his 5 foot 10 inch frame now weighs around 161 pounds. (In terms of height-to-weight ratio, that's not a whole lot different from Miguel Indurain, who measures 6 feet 2 inches and weighs 172 pounds).

The big American has also thought deeply about his climbing style: "I climb a lot out of the saddle, particularly on the steep hills we have at the Tour DuPont. I know the Tour climbs are more gradual....and longer. You have to get into a rhythm." In order to help develop his climbing style, Armstrong trained in the mountains of Virginia the week before the Tour DuPont, and he hopes to find time before the Tour to train in the Alps. "I'd like to go and just do climbing," he noted.

The other key to a good Tour De France is the ability to do well in Time Trials. Again, Armstrong has been working hard in this area. Over the winter he did aerodynamic and power testing with U.S. Cycling Federation coach Chris Carmichael, and he then had a Lotus time-trial bike made to his dimensions. Using this, he placed third at the DuPont prologue, just beating his arch rival Viatcheslav Ekimov. He then used his regular Caloi low-profile machine to win the mountainous time-trial in the Roanoke Valley, breaking Ekimov's course record. Other then a very short prologue win at the 1993 K-mart Classic of West Virginia, that was Armstrong's first time-trial win as a professional.

Looking ahead to the Tour's major time-trial in Belgium, the former World Champion said, "I'd like to be motivated for that stage. I rode the course the day before Liege-Bastogne-Liege (in mid April). It's pretty tough, never really flat...and it finishes up-hill. It's a strongman's course."

That stage will be a benchmark for the American. If he is motivated and in his best form, he will be looking for a place in the top 10, at least. Last year, in the 64km test at Bergerac (10km longer then this one), he placed 13th on the stage, 6:23 slower than Indurain. We'll see what the "new" Armstrong can do on July 9...

Meanwhile, despite his refocused ambition, Armstrong is committed to working for Motorola's leader for the Tour, Alvaro Mejia of Columbia - who finished fourth overall at the 1993 Tour. Of course, whether Mejia can rediscover the scintillating form he enjoyed two years ago will determine the eventual performance of Armstrong. If the Columbian fails to meet the high hopes placed on him, then the team will turn to the American - be it to win stages or take a high place on the overall classification.

Regardless of Mejia's form, however, you can bet that the Texan won't be satisfied with "just finishing" the Tour. Given his spontaneous character and new commitment to "the long haul," expect to see Armstrong finding some sort of success in his own flamboyant manner.




Article from the "Tour De France Map and Spectator Guide" for the 1995 Tour De France. Printed by VeloNews.
Written by John Wilcockson
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Old 07-09-2006, 01:14 PM
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Bill Bove Bill Bove is offline
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Interesting article. Seems like a pleasent enough fellow. Did he ever do the tour? How'ed it go?
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Old 07-09-2006, 01:16 PM
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William William is offline
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Originally Posted by Bill Bove
Interesting article. Seems like a pleasent enough fellow. Did he ever do the tour? How'ed it go?
I dunno, I can't seem to find anything else about him on the int-er-net..


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Old 07-09-2006, 04:14 PM
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Dekonick Dekonick is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by William
I dunno, I can't seem to find anything else about him on the int-er-net..


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Ask Al Gore. I am sure he can point you in the right direction
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Old 07-09-2006, 05:46 PM
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Elefantino Elefantino is offline
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No. I finally saw An Inconvenient Truth yesterday and there were no pro cyclists.
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