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89th Tour de France - Grand Tour
France, July 6-28, 2002
2002 Tour de France journals
John Eustice, Tour de France International Show host
New Yorker John Eustice is the host of the Tour de France's 2002 International Show, broadcasting to over 30 countries world-wide, with play by play by Phil Ligget. Eustice is covering his ninth Tour De France, his previous eight with ESPN and ABC Sports. In cycling, the 46 year old Eustice was the first-ever USPRO Champion in 1982. Originally from Ivyland, Pennsylvania, Eustice competed in the Giro d'Italia, Vuelta a Espana and World Cycling Championships. When he's not at the Tour de France, the father of two runs his sports event promotion company Sparta, organizers of the Housatonic Valley Classic and the Univest Grand Prix.
Stage 19 - Saturday July 27: Regnie-Durette-Macon, Individual TT, 50 km
Stage 20 - Sunday July 28: Melun -Paris-Champs-Elysées, 140 km
Final Thoughts: 2002 Tour de France
It has been a wonderful Tour to follow this year. The doping issues were thankfully quiet and the journalists were able to enjoy covering a race instead of a judicial process. The weather was beautiful and the crowds and courses were spectacular. What bad can you say about at race that goes through Champagne, Bordeaux (rest day to boot), Chateauneuf du Pape and finishes in Beaujolais then Paris?
Is the US Postal Service team the greatest team in Tour history? This theory has come from the European journalists, not flag waving me.
Ekimov - we know all about him. The man with incredible East European toughness and tons of experience. The Olympic TT Champion, riding tempo on the front - 'nuff said.
Padrnos - Bruyneel saw him in the Giro and saw that the big Czech was the locomotive in Cipo's Red Leadout Train and that he could then amble his carcass over the mountains and finish 18th overall. How perfect does that sound?
Joachim, good steady guy.
Peña - quiet this Tour, the Colombian in the tempo trenches bringing home the prize.
Rubiera and Heras. They actually complained that the tempo guys were so strong, and making it over the mountains so far into the races that the two of them had almost nothing to do. "We only really race 5 km a day in the mountains." But boy, those were some 5 km stretches.
Floyd Landis - had a tough Tour. The Pennsylvanian is still very new to the high levels and could not get the form he had at the Dauphine. No problem. Most of the other teams would have loved to have had a rider with his "lack of form". He was plenty strong and shifted from climbing into more of a tempo focus. Future rider.
Hincapie - for me, George ranked up with Lance, Botero and Jaja as a dominating force in the race. He roved the front of that field like a bad ass Linebacker (American football position - defensive, generally given to big, fast, lean players) controlling it, keeping the troops in line. He made it over the Alps in front, even when they were racing them hard (Padrnos too) and can you imagine the poor ONCE boys, seeing this "Classics rider" with his perfect style flowing on the bike, just ripping down the road hour after hour, day after day - with Lance, Rubiera and Heras just waiting in the wings. Hincapie: gets my vote as MVP of the '02 Tour.
And Lance. Indurain never dominated like he did. Miguel used to always fade in the last week. What more can one say?
I asked Lance in an interview about the team and the idea that it is the all time great. He thought about it, agreed that in the past 15 years it was probably the best but brought up the La Vie Claire of Bernard Hinault, Greg LeMond, Andy Hampsten, Steve Bauer, Niki Ruttiman, etc. as one of the greats as well.
My opinion: The players on that team were better individuals that the USPS collection - but remember, they almost killed one another in that war between Greg and Bernard. The strength of the USPS is their fierce loyalty to one another. A Real Team.
They are also about 5 years ahead of the other teams in terms of structure, management, training, diet, and everything else. It's been a pleasure to watch them.