"It never gets any easier. You just go faster." ---Greg Lemond
"Don't buy upgrades. Ride up grades." --- Eddy Merckx
"You drive like shit." ---The Car Whisperer

27.2.09

BKW: Andy Hampsten, 1986 - Inside La Vie Claire

Belgian Knee Warmers has a stellar article this morning, on Andy Hampsten's recollections of the feud between Greg Lemond and Bernard Hinault during the 1986 Tour de France. For the uninformed, and if you are a normal American you are probably uninformed about cycling, Lemond was promised by Hinault that he would ride for him that year. This was in exchange for the work Lemond did the previous year in bringing Hinault to Paris in Le Maillot Jaune. Instead, in 1986, Bernard was obviously riding for himself. Greg Lemond finished in yellow to become the first American to ever win Le Tour de France in one of the most memorable races in history.

The confrontation is now top of mind as the cycling world is waiting to see what happens when comeback kid Lance "Mellow Johnny" Armstrong and his Astana team are rejoined by 2007 Tour champion Alberto Contador. Words have already been exchanged from the moment Armstrong announed he was coming out of retirement to join Astana. Contador has stated that he isn't riding domestique for Amstrong, who publically thinks that Contador talks too much.

I personally think it's all moot however. Armstrong is 37 years old, 7-time champion or not, and he looked brutalized after his very respectable 7th placing in the recent Tour of California. Two days in he had the craggy, jagged "race face" we usually only see on him after the third day in the Alps. Contador won the 2008 Giro d'Italia and the Vuelta Espana grand tours, the lformer without even training (he was literally sitting on a Mediterranean beach, lamenting his Tour de France snub when he got the call for Italy.) He's already won the 2009 Volto Algarve stage race in Portugal, and is considered a favorite in the upcoming Belgian Spring Classics.

I respect Armstrong for everything he's done for cycling, especially bringing so many American fans into the fold, but I seriously doubt he even be around for the Tour de France, much less finish it. It's a long way to July and it looked like he left a lot on the road in California. There are a lot of new names coming up in cycling to take over his legendary place in the peleton, and Alberto Contador is one of them.

6 comments:

Tamara Fraser said...

To be fair to Pants, he and the other Astana guys were working hard for Levi, sitting at the front of the peloton through some rough weather. I sorta like domestique Lance.

The Car Whisperer said...

It's very fair to say that a 37 year old will not make it through the tour...especially with most of your team working for the other guy.

allenpg said...

Many argue that Lemond could have destroyed Hinault in 1985, but he was a good team player and rode for the team leader. It was a similar situation with Ullrich and Riis in 1996 (though they both were likely ingesting enough EPO to fuel a horse farm). I think the best situation would be to let Lance shoot for the Giro and let Alberto go for the Tour. Even in his prime, Lance never rode the Giro before any of his Tour victories. And now, at 37 he's...

The Car Whisperer said...

he's what?

Jeff said...

Does Lemond Tourettes?

allenpg said...

He's finding you can't mask EPO like you used to...:)