July 24/04 2:26 am - Steve Bauer Report from the Tour
Posted by Editoress on 07/24/04
Steve Bauer, Canada's greatest road racer is over at the Tour, leading one of his guided tours ( see www.stevebauer.com ). Steve took a few minutes out of his schedule to send us an update on his thoughts about the Tour with two stages remaining (ie, before the start of today's time trial).
It is now the final TT day in Besancon and we all know "The Man" will be unbeatable. My impression of the Tour de France, the Postal Team and Lance is summarized in one word. Textbook.
In the first week Lance and the boys fulfilled three main objectives for Lance:
A topnotch prologue showing all adversaries that he is firing on all cylinders.
Stay out of trouble, and put pressure on where it counts: the cobblestones, TTT... Perfect. No more comments necessary.
Now most importantly.... Let the jersey go the next day to riders that are not capable of winning the race... Textbook.
The race was very hard through the massif central following tough weather and racing in the north. I always said that the race would be established (not won yet but definitely established) in the Pyrennes.
It was. Lance's boys had the legs now to dominate the race since the first week was by the book.
My most interesting observation was at La Mongie. I spoke with Serge Borlee (bodyguard of Lance / police officer of Brussels and former soigneur of mine in Motorola) that day and in the morning he and Lance were devising a strategy to "get off the mountain as fast as they could" and recuperate for the big day to Plateau de Beille. Serge suggested to Lance: "You have to win, then you will do medical control, talk to the media and then the roads will be so jammed "le Tour" will have to helicopter you to the hotel" Lance said "I like that!"
However, that was not what happened. Our Steve Bauer van was luckily parked in front of Serge's car and the team bus. After the stage Lance immediately was led there by Serge. After 2.5 minutes of interviews, just enough time for Azevedo and Chechu to get up to the car, they loaded in and were off on the evacuation route over Col du Tourmalet. No wasted time. No wasted energy. All planned for the big day coming. Lance did not win the race on purpose, in order to get the "bleep" out of there fast. All planned. All in the way of making sure nothing is overlooked to win this number 6.
Alpe d'Huez. I believe this image I will describe is the summary of Lance Armstrong's dominance of the past 6 Tour de Frances. Standing with our Tour group about 100 metres prior to Turn Three. The television gave us updates on Lance's and Basso's progress. We knew Lance was closing on Basso and it was getting close. Basso came into sight on the stretch before us. Cameras focused and clicked. HERE COMES LANCE. The man was moving fast. The immediate impression of speed was incredible.
Charging in on Basso's heels, Lance passed in full effort and perfect rhythm. They rounded Turn Three and as the two headed to Turn Two above us we could actually see the gap closing in such an impressive manner. As they rounded Turn Turn we checked the television and the Lance had caught Basso.
As a spectator of this amazing event, this was a top moment for me, an incredible impression of physical prowess and talent.