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BIG_DADDY
07-12-2005, 04:36 PM
Here come the hills. Kick their ass LA.

Armstrong Blows Away Rivals in Tour De France's First Alpine Stage
Jul 12, 4:34 PM (ET) Email this Story

By JOHN LEICESTER
COURCHEVEL, France (AP) - Two faces. One was Lance Armstrong's, steely but almost serene as he pedaled furiously in the thin mountain air. The other was a mask of pain worn by Jan Ullrich, his great German rival trailing farther and farther behind.

Armstrong took a giant step toward a seventh consecutive Tour de France victory with a dominant ride Tuesday on the first Alpine climb of this year's race, retaking the overall lead - which he could hold all the way to the finish in Paris on July 24.

At the top of the snaking, crowd-lined final climb to the ski station of Courchevel, the American was beaten to the line by Spanish rider Alejandro Valverde, a 25-year-old who Armstrong says could be the next big thing in cycling after he retires at the end of this Tour.

But the second-place finish was just fine. Riders Armstrong regards as his main threats, including Ullrich, were way behind, still laboring as he and Valverde clasped hands in the saddle in mutual recognition.

They covered the 111-mile 10th stage in 4 hours, 50 minutes, 35 seconds. Because of a protest at the start by farmers angry over wolf attacks on their sheep and cows, organizers shortened the race by more than 9 miles, beginning it after the town of Froges, near the city of Grenoble.


Mickael Rasmussen crossed the finish line third and Spain's Francisco Mancebo was fourth, both 9 seconds back. Along with Valverde, they were the only riders who managed to stay with Armstrong on the final ascent.

The ride silenced doubts that Armstrong is too old at 33, or too jaded after his record six victories, to win again. If he follows the pattern of previous Tours, he might not relinquish the leader's yellow jersey that he already wore for five days last week.

"Today, I had good legs," Armstrong said. "We are in a good position with regard to some of the main rivals, so we'll have to protect that and that might mean protecting the jersey and hopefully retiring in it. But we'll see, there's still a lot of racing to go."

Overall, Armstrong leads Rasmussen by 38 seconds. While he does not regard himself as a challenger to Armstrong, the Dane has shown himself enough of a threat on climbs - he won the ninth stage with a gutsy solo ride over six ascents - to warrant the Texan's attention.

"He's a damn good climber and we have to watch him now," Armstrong said.

Italian Ivan Basso, among the challengers left behind by Armstrong on the 13.8-mile final ascent, was 1:02 behind in fifth place Tuesday - his overall deficit to Armstrong growing to 2:40.

Ullrich, the 1997 winner and a five-time runner-up, dropped behind about halfway up the climb, grimacing and puffing, when Armstrong's new Ukrainian teammate Yaroslav Popovych upped the already punishing pace - shaking off a tumble earlier in the stage when he collided with a car from rival Team CSC.

"He REALLY accelerated," Armstrong said. "That was a sprint. He had a serious crash and came back and didn't even think about it."

Ullrich, perhaps feeling the effects of a crash of his own in the ninth stage, struggled to the finish line in 13th place, 2:14 back, his overall deficit to Armstrong growing to 4:02. Ullrich's teammate, Andreas Kloeden, runner-up last year when Armstrong won his record sixth crown, fell to 4:16 behind overall.

The biggest surprise was the collapse of Alexandre Vinokourov, another Ullrich teammate from Kazakhstan who had been expected to seriously challenge Armstrong but who trailed Tuesday by 5:18 in 24th place. Vinokourov, third in 2003, is a whopping 6:32 back of Armstrong overall.

Armstrong said he expects them to bounce back.

"I don't think they are finished. I am going to be the last person to write them off," he said. "They are going to make life difficult and we'll continue to watch them and continue to respect them."

Valverde, racing his first Tour, is 3:16 behind Armstrong.

"A guy like him - I'm not blowing smoke - could be the future of cycling. He's a complete rider, a smart rider and a patient rider," said Armstrong, who added that he "gave everything I had" to try to beat the Spaniard in the final sprint.

"I attacked and couldn't go any harder, he's a fast guy," he said. "I wanted the stage win because I haven't won a race yet this year. I'm trying."

Armstrong goes into the hardest Alpine stage, a 107.5-mile trek Wednesday over three famed ascents, with the added benefit of knowing his Discovery Channel teammates are back on their game after a surprise bad day last week. The Discovery riders poured on the pace in the first section of Tuesday's final ascent, whittling down the field.

"Real champions," said Armstrong. "I would give the team an A."

Zebedee DuBois
07-12-2005, 04:42 PM
...as he and Valverde clasped hands in the saddle in mutual recognition.

heh....

Lance kills them in the mountains.

BIG_DADDY
07-12-2005, 04:47 PM
heh....

Lance kills them in the mountains.

He could really crush everyone this year if this keeps up. Serves them right for saying he was jaded and too old old now. They try everything to bring the guy down including accusing him of roiding. He has passed every test they have given him and if this ends up being his biggest margin of victory yet I am going to laugh my ass off.

Donger
07-12-2005, 04:50 PM
Excellent. I'm looking forward to watching the stage tonight, even though I know the results. Tomorrow's stage is probably the nastiest mountian stage in this year's Tour. I wouldn't be surprised to see Lance take another few minutes out his rivals.

BIG_DADDY
07-12-2005, 05:08 PM
Excellent. I'm looking forward to watching the stage tonight, even though I know the results. Tomorrow's stage is probably the nastiest mountian stage in this year's Tour. I wouldn't be surprised to see Lance take another few minutes out his rivals.

What's with the farmers protesting the wolf attacks on their livestock? Got a problem, shoot them. Then again we are talking about Europe. Those damn Euorfags probably took all their guns already. ROFL

Yea tomorrow could be a huge day. If it goes like today though we could be talking about a serious ass wooping.

Simplex3
07-12-2005, 05:09 PM
An American winning this thing for a record 7 straight would be a real worldwide punch in the nuts. The only thing worse would be the US men's soccer team taking two World Cups in a row (which will NEVER happen).

Simplex3
07-12-2005, 05:12 PM
What's with the farmers protesting the wolf attacks on their livestock? Got a problem, shoot them. Then again we are talking about Europe. Those damn EuorRump Rangers probably took all their guns already. ROFL
Could be that or the Frenchies can't get the wolves killed in their mandatory 35 hour work week and still run their business.

I can just picture it now, the wolves sitting around the cave watching the protests on CNN:

Wolf 1: "We're going to have to adjust our sheep and cow eating policy if the tide of public opinion keeps swinging away from us."

Wolf 2: "No, we just need a solid PR campaign. Who was that speech writer that The Big Bad Wolf used?"

Wolf 1: "Jim Wolfe. If we could get a prime-time news conference to deliver that speech in we could probably keep killing indiscriminately..."

Donger
07-12-2005, 05:16 PM
What's with the farmers protesting the wolf attacks on their livestock? Got a problem, shoot them. Then again we are talking about Europe. Those damn EuorRump Rangers probably took all their guns already. ROFL

Yea tomorrow could be a huge day. If it goes like today though we could be talking about a serious ass wooping.

Protests are nothing new to the Tour. They happen every once in a while. I remember one a few years ago that stopped the riders for about an hour. Nice primetime audience to get your message out to, I guess.

BIG_DADDY
07-12-2005, 05:19 PM
Protests are nothing new to the Tour. They happen every once in a while. I remember one a few years ago that stopped the riders for about an hour. Nice primetime audience to get your message out to, I guess.

They should kick their ass like they would in Russia.

Could be that or the Frenchies can't get the wolves killed in their mandatory 35 hour work week and still run their business.

I can just picture it now, the wolves sitting around the cave watching the protests on CNN:

Wolf 1: "We're going to have to adjust our sheep and cow eating policy if the tide of public opinion keeps swinging away from us."

Wolf 2: "No, we just need a solid PR campaign. Who was that speech writer that The Big Bad Wolf used?"

Wolf 1: "Jim Wolfe. If we could get a prime-time news conference to deliver that speech in we could probably keep killing indiscriminately..."

Good stuff. ROFL

Fairplay
07-12-2005, 05:25 PM
A person without any interest in bike racing (myself) would be in awe by his life story and the obstacles he has overcome. Its peoples story like his.... that, when you have down times in your life you think about their life and say "Shame on me im going to shake the dust off and move on with my head held up."

For those who don't already know here is a fact about Lance.........

Armstrong has a big heart, literally. His heart is almost a third larger than that of an average man. It beats about thirty-two times a minute during those rare moments when Armstrong is at rest, and can exceed two hundred beats a minute when he exerts himself. Either number is far enough from the norm to startle any doctor with a stethoscope.

Donger
07-12-2005, 05:32 PM
A person without any interest in bike racing (myself) would be in awe by his life story and the obstacles he has overcome. Its peoples story like his.... that, when you have down times in your life you think about their life and say "Shame on me im going to shake the dust off and move on with my head held up."

For those who don't already know here is a fact about Lance.........

Armstrong has a big heart, literally. His heart is almost a third larger than that of an average man. It beats about thirty-two times a minute during those rare moments when Armstrong is at rest, and can exceed two hundred beats a minute when he exerts himself. Either number is far enough from the norm to startle any doctor with a stethoscope.

I remember reading that his anerobic threshold is almost freakish.

Fairplay
07-12-2005, 05:35 PM
I remember reading that his anerobic threshold is almost freakish.



I know. The numbers he has on heart rates compared to others are crazy. I would not doubt that he is in the best physical shape of any man on the planet.

|Zach|
07-12-2005, 05:47 PM
I didn't know about the protests but I have always been amazed that there are not really any breaches of security. Maybe there have been but they have just been low key and I have not seen them. I just think its incredible how close those crowds of people are to the cyclists. I know it would be impossible to secure so many people over that spand of ground but its still amazing to me there are not more problems...

Simplex3
07-12-2005, 10:57 PM
Armstrong has a big heart, literally. His heart is almost a third larger than that of an average man. It beats about thirty-two times a minute during those rare moments when Armstrong is at rest, and can exceed two hundred beats a minute when he exerts himself. Either number is far enough from the norm to startle any doctor with a stethoscope.
F**king s**t. I used to be a trainer at Gold's and the lowest RHR I ever measured was in the high 40's. 32 is absurd. As for a max of over 200bpm: I would die at that pace. Literally. Most of us would. That is just inhuman.

Ultra Peanut
07-12-2005, 11:05 PM
The only thing worse would be the US men's soccer team taking two World Cups in a row (which will NEVER happen).Only because, unless you're Brazil, winning two WCs in a row from this point forward will be a damn near impossible feat. Parity is pretty strong in world soccer, aside from the clear top dog in Brazil, and there are probably 15 nations (US included) with a legit shot at winning the whole shebang in 2006 or 2010.

Look at France... they won in '98, didn't make it out of the group phase in '02, and now they're in a dogfight with the likes of Ireland, Switzerland, and Israel just to qualify this time around.

Just for the record, we have a good chance of doing well for the second WC in a row in '06, and we look to have a very, very real shot of winning the World Cup in 2010. Guys likes Benedict, DMB, EJ, Gooch, Dempsey, and Boca will still be in their primes, and "the kids" like Adu, Gaven, and Feilhaber will be coming into their own at that point.

Anything can happen in the World Cup, so actually predicting a win is a bit extreme, but we'll have a shot, barring some sort of massive setback and collapse.

alanm
07-12-2005, 11:23 PM
He could really crush everyone this year if this keeps up. Serves them right for saying he was jaded and too old old now. They try everything to bring the guy down including accusing him of roiding. He has passed every test they have given him and if this ends up being his biggest margin of victory yet I am going to laugh my ass off.
I got up early this morning to watch some of it on OLN and they mentioned that 13 riders were tested again yesterday. Armstrong included. Of course he passed. I believe a Russian failed and he was DQed. :)

Simplex3
07-12-2005, 11:37 PM
Only because, unless you're Brazil, winning two WCs in a row from this point forward will be a damn near impossible feat. Parity is pretty strong in world soccer, aside from the clear top dog in Brazil, and there are probably 15 nations (US included) with a legit shot at winning the whole shebang in 2006 or 2010.

Look at France... they won in '98, didn't make it out of the group phase in '02, and now they're in a dogfight with the likes of Ireland, Switzerland, and Israel just to qualify this time around.

Just for the record, we have a good chance of doing well for the second WC in a row in '06, and we look to have a very, very real shot of winning the World Cup in 2010. Guys likes Benedict, DMB, EJ, Gooch, Dempsey, and Boca will still be in their primes, and "the kids" like Adu, Gaven, and Feilhaber will be coming into their own at that point.

Anything can happen in the World Cup, so actually predicting a win is a bit extreme, but we'll have a shot, barring some sort of massive setback and collapse.
Can I have the 90 seconds of my life that I spent reading a soccer post back? :shake:

Pants
07-12-2005, 11:47 PM
Only because, unless you're Brazil, winning two WCs in a row from this point forward will be a damn near impossible feat. Parity is pretty strong in world soccer, aside from the clear top dog in Brazil, and there are probably 15 nations (US included) with a legit shot at winning the whole shebang in 2006 or 2010.

Look at France... they won in '98, didn't make it out of the group phase in '02, and now they're in a dogfight with the likes of Ireland, Switzerland, and Israel just to qualify this time around.

Just for the record, we have a good chance of doing well for the second WC in a row in '06, and we look to have a very, very real shot of winning the World Cup in 2010. Guys likes Benedict, DMB, EJ, Gooch, Dempsey, and Boca will still be in their primes, and "the kids" like Adu, Gaven, and Feilhaber will be coming into their own at that point.

Anything can happen in the World Cup, so actually predicting a win is a bit extreme, but we'll have a shot, barring some sort of massive setback and collapse.

France was awesome when Jaquet (sp?) was coaching them. Once he left, everything started to go downhill (yeah they won Euro 2000, but the Jaquet's left over system carried them through).

I'm predicting Germany to win the whole thing, they might not have the strongest squad, but playing at home is HUGE. BTW, Ukraine is dominating their group (Danes, Turks and Greeks included), I'm pumped, even though I know they won't do shit come playing time in Germany.

ChiefsFanatic
07-13-2005, 01:09 AM
He could really crush everyone this year if this keeps up. Serves them right for saying he was jaded and too old old now. They try everything to bring the guy down including accusing him of roiding. He has passed every test they have given him and if this ends up being his biggest margin of victory yet I am going to laugh my ass off.

I saw a piece on ESPN that said Armstrong has been administered (and passed) more drug tests than any other athlete ever.

PastorMikH
07-13-2005, 08:54 PM
C'MON LANCE!!!


I was sitting in the Barber's chair today. The barber asked me what I thought of the All Star game last night. I hadn't even noticed it that time of year. I told him it speaks a lot for baseball when I know where Lance has placed for the day but didn't realize that the All-star game was last night.

Ultra Peanut
07-13-2005, 08:59 PM
I'm predicting Germany to win the whole thing, they might not have the strongest squad, but playing at home is HUGE. Indeed. Just ask South Korea.

Another factor in our favor in 2010 is that it'll be in South Africa, rather than Europe. The neutral site should really help when it comes to playing UEFA teams.

BIG_DADDY
07-14-2005, 03:09 PM
Armstrong Suffers Tour De France Setback With Loss of Teammate in a Crash
Jul 14, 3:33 PM (ET) Email this Story

By JOHN LEICESTER
DIGNE-LES-BAINS, France (AP) - Not everything went according to plan for Lance Armstrong on Thursday at the Tour de France.

The American retained his overall lead on the last of three days in the Alps. The loss of Manuel Beltran, however, could be critical in the upcoming Pyrenees.

David Moncoutie won the 12th stage, becoming the 15th Frenchman since World War II to win on Bastille Day, France's national holiday.

Beltran, one of several riders Armstrong relies on to lead him up the Tour's brutal climbs, touched wheels with another racer and crashed on the day's first ascent, hitting his head. He was so dazed he didn't know where he was.

"He was asking, 'Where is the peloton? Where is the peloton?"' said team manager Johan Bruyneel, adding the Spaniard gingerly picked himself up off the sun-baked tarmac.

Beltran, who goes by the nickname "Triki" and has been part of Armstrong's Tour-winning team since 2003, remounted his bike with difficulty and pedaled on for about 6 miles until a race doctor said he should stop, Bruyneel said.

"We could see that he really didn't know where he was. There was no power at all and after a while he didn't even realize that he had crashed," Bruyneel said. "So we forced him to stop."

Beltran, 34, was taken to a hospital where a brain scan found no initial sign of serious injury, although he was being kept overnight for observation.

Not since 2001 has Armstrong finished in Paris without all of his teammates. Beltran's role has been to lead the American on mountain ascents, using his uphill speed to shake off rivals.

His loss "could be very critical with the days that we have coming up," Armstrong said. "Three tough days in the Pyrenees. We don't want to lose any climbers and Triki is one of our pure climbers."

The mountains that separate France and Spain come Saturday after a mostly flat stage Friday from Miramas to Montpellier in southern France.

Armstrong still has several strong climbers among his remaining seven support riders. They include Yaroslav Popovych, who helped Armstrong leave rivals behind with brutal acceleration on the first Alpine stage, and Jose Luis Rubiera, known as "Chechu."

"I feel very confident that with those seven guys we can manage," Armstrong said.

Bruyneel was less emphatic.

"There is no one really who can pick up what he was doing," Bruyneel said. "We need all the guys and everybody knows his role and he and Chechu were working in the early mountains. It's going to be tougher on the team of course, because it's one guy less and his job will have to be shared with a few guys.

"It's tough to lose a rider but the good news is that he doesn't have anything serious and that is the most important," he added.

Moncoutie took the lead on the Col du Corobin, the fourth of five ascents on the 116.2-mile trek from Briancon, and cycled alone into Digne-les-Bains past cheering crowds. The Cofidis team rider completed the route in 4 hours, 20 minutes, 6 seconds.

"It's fabulous," Moncoutie said. "I'm so happy to win. It's July 14th."

Armstrong cruised in with his main rivals in a group more than 10 minutes back. Armstrong was 41st.

His lead over second-place Mickael Rasmussen of Denmark stayed at 38 seconds, with French rider Christophe Moreau still third, 2:34 behind the six-time champion.

Italian Ivan Basso remains 2:40 back, fourth overall, with Jan Ullrich of Germany 4:02 behind in ninth.

Moncoutie is way down in the overall standings, so Armstrong did not lay chase when he and a group of other racers far from him time-wise rode off ahead.

French television hailed Moncoutie as a "clean" winner, echoing suspicions that other Tour riders may be doping. The furious racing speeds so far this year and the arrest Wednesday of Italian rider Dario Frigo have renewed such doubts. Frigo's wife was caught with suspected doping products in her car.

Moncoutie said there is no proof of widespread doping but noted that French cyclists - who are mostly way off the pace again this year - are discouraged.

Moncoutie placed sixth at the Dauphine Libere before the Tour. Even with the time made up with his win Thursday, he is 40th overall at the Tour, 32:06 behind Armstrong.

"At the Dauphine Libere, I managed to stay with the best. At the Tour, I no longer can," Moncoutie said. "It is like that every year. I know that the Tour goes faster. That is the way it is. So be it. You draw the conclusions you want."

Cycling's governing body said Thursday that all blood and urine doping tests from the first week of the three-week race were negative. Armstrong has been repeatedly tested.

Customs officers checked at least two vehicles from two separate Tour teams Thursday but found nothing suspicious.

Donger
07-14-2005, 03:16 PM
The loss of Manuel Beltran, however, could be critical in the upcoming Pyrenees.

That is not good.

morphius
07-14-2005, 03:18 PM
Read that earlier today Big Daddy. Nothing is written in stone yet, with as many wrecks as there are in the tour, and some of the bad weather they run into, it is going to be tough for Lance. Hopefully losing a team mate doesn't hurt him too badly.

Morphius
fingers crossed.

BIG_DADDY
07-14-2005, 03:30 PM
Read that earlier today Big Daddy. Nothing is written in stone yet, with as many wrecks as there are in the tour, and some of the bad weather they run into, it is going to be tough for Lance. Hopefully losing a team mate doesn't hurt him too badly.

Morphius
fingers crossed.


I really hope he pulls this thing off. What an awesome way to retire from the sport.

Earthling
07-14-2005, 03:31 PM
7 wins straight would be incredibly awesome. I think we're going to see history made. Go Lance!!!

morphius
07-14-2005, 03:32 PM
I really hope he pulls this thing off. What an awesome way to retire from the sport.
and we get to beat the french, which is also a bonus.

Sad thing is, after this year it will be hard to get any american to pay attention, including myself.

TEX
07-14-2005, 03:35 PM
Moncoutie placed sixth at the Dauphine Libere before the Tour. Even with the time made up with his win Thursday, he is 40th overall at the Tour, 32:06 behind Armstrong.

"At the Dauphine Libere, I managed to stay with the best. At the Tour, I no longer can," Moncoutie said. "It is like that every year. I know that the Tour goes faster. That is the way it is. So be it. You draw the conclusions you want."

Okay. I conclude that Lance is simply FASTER than you. Se la vi Frenchie - Get over it!

GO LANCE! :thumb:

BIG_DADDY
07-14-2005, 03:36 PM
and we get to beat the french, which is also a bonus.

Sad thing is, after this year it will be hard to get any american to pay attention, including myself.

Ain't that the truth.

BIG_DADDY
07-14-2005, 03:37 PM
Moncoutie placed sixth at the Dauphine Libere before the Tour. Even with the time made up with his win Thursday, he is 40th overall at the Tour, 32:06 behind Armstrong.

"At the Dauphine Libere, I managed to stay with the best. At the Tour, I no longer can," Moncoutie said. "It is like that every year. I know that the Tour goes faster. That is the way it is. So be it. You draw the conclusions you want."

Okay. I conclude that Lance is simply FASTER than you. Se la vi Frenchie - Get over it!

GO LANCE! :thumb:

That's the Frenchies for ya. If they don't win everyone else is cheating.

Donger
07-14-2005, 03:43 PM
"At the Dauphine Libere, I managed to stay with the best. At the Tour, I no longer can," Moncoutie said. "It is like that every year. I know that the Tour goes faster. That is the way it is. So be it. You draw the conclusions you want."

That's pretty cocky, considering that it isn't exactly unusually for a Frenchman to magically win the stage on Bastille day.

Calcountry
07-14-2005, 04:55 PM
Hey Big D, I hope you aren't as prophetic with this thread as you were with the Lakers one. ;)

BIG_DADDY
07-14-2005, 05:25 PM
Hey Big D, I hope you aren't as prophetic with this thread as you were with the Lakers one. ;)

Leave my Lakers out of this besides we just picked up a 7' 12 year old that's going to kick ass next season. :)

BIG_DADDY
07-15-2005, 01:06 PM
McEwen Wins; Armstrong Keeps Overall Lead
Jul 15, 12:58 PM (ET) Email this Story

By JOHN LEICESTER
MONTPELLIER, France (AP) - Lance Armstrong retained his overall lead in the Tour de France's flat, fast stage 13 on Friday, won by Robbie McEwen in a sprint.

The win was McEwen's third of this year's Tour. Armstrong and his main rivals finished together in the stage across southern France before the race heads into the Pyrenees on Saturday.

Armstrong's lead over second-place Mickael Rasmussen of Denmark stayed at 38 seconds, with French rider Christophe Moreau still third, 2:34 behind the six-time champion.

Italy's Ivan Basso remains 2:40 back, fourth overall. Jan Ullrich of Germany is 4:02 behind, but rose to eighth in the standings after Spain's Alejandro Valverde retired with an injury. Valverde, winner of the first Alpine stage, had been fifth overall.

"Everybody is waiting" for the Pyrenees, said Armstrong, explaining why he and his rivals did not do battle over Friday's 107.8-mile trek from Miramas to Montpellier.

Ullrich was 25th, Armstrong 33rd, Rasmussen was 57th, and Basso was 72nd. They and McEwen all finished with the same time of 3 hours, 43 minutes, 14 seconds.

McEwen attributed his victory to his Davitamon-Lotto team, which helped reel in a group of riders that had escaped, setting the Australian sprinter up for his dash to the line.

"It's not a victory for McEwen, it's a victory for Davitamon-Lotto," he said. "Unbelievable."

The first of the three Pyrenean stages has five progressively harder climbs before finishing with a steep ascent to Ax-3 Domaines.

Armstrong, looking gaunt and exhausted, placed fourth the last time the Tour visited the ski station in 2003 - the shakiest of his record six wins. Ullrich powered past Armstrong on the climb, cutting the American's overall lead to just 15 seconds. Spain's Carlos Sastre won the stage that day.

Armstrong has been stronger so far this year.

The Ax-3 Domaines climb rates a 1 on the rising scale of difficulty that starts at 4.

Before that final ascent comes the 9.4-mile climb over the Port de Pailheres. It peaks at 6,565 feet and is so hard that it is classified as "hors categorie" - or unrated.

The ascents combined form a "one-two punch," said Armstrong.

"Pailheres is a very tough climb," he added. "Very long, very steep and incredibly narrow at the top."

Saturday's 137-mile stage from Agde on the Mediterranean coast is followed Sunday by perhaps the hardest stage this year.

It has a succession of five climbs, one rated 2, the others 1, before an "hors categorie" final ascent to Saint-Lary Soulan.

Monday is a rest day before the last high mountain stage. Should the Pyrenees not prove decisive, the outcome of the three-week race will likely be decided in a time trial the day before the Tour ends July 24. Armstrong will retire then - he hopes with a seventh consecutive win.

Hot weather is forecast to continue Saturday. Dehydration weakened Armstrong during the 2003 Tour. Sipping water a press conference, he said he is taking care to drink this year.

"Everybody's performance suffers in the heat," Armstrong said. "But some riders, of course, handle it better than others."

BIG_DADDY
07-19-2005, 03:57 PM
Armstrong emerges from mountains aiming to fill a gap in his Tour de France resume
Jul 19, 5:21 PM (ET) Email this Story

^With BC-CYC--Tour de France-Glance, BC-CYC--Tour de France-Kloeden, BC-CYC--Tour de France-Crowd, BC-CYC--Armstrong-Retirement, BC-CYC--Tour de France-Armstrong Coach
PAU, France (AP) - The high mountains safely behind him, the finishing straight almost in sight, just one thing is missing as Lance Armstrong closes in on a seventh straight and last Tour de France title: a daily stage win of his own.

Even Armstrong, who doesn't like to tempt fate by claiming a win in advance, acknowledges that "the odds are good" that he'll have the winner's yellow jersey - the famed maillot jaune - on his back when he retires from cycling at the end of the race.

Completing the last of three days in the Pyrenees on Tuesday left just a mostly flat stage, two medium mountain stages and the time trial for Armstrong to negotiate before the final victorious pedal up Paris' Champs-Elysees.

Armstrong's main rivals, sensing that their chances of catching the American are slipping away, tried testing him again on two rigorous climbs during Tuesday's 16th stage from Mourenx to Pau.


But he brushed off the challenges, easily matching their uphill accelerations to defend his comfortable lead. He finished with his main rivals in a group behind stage winner Oscar Pereiro of Spain - and announced he was feeling better than ever.

Armstrong called it a "no chain" day - meaning he felt so strong that it seemed as if his bicycle had no chain. Not bad for a 33-year-old who has ridden 1,746 miles through the north, east and south of France, over the Alps and Pyrenees, in the past two weeks.

"I don't have a real explanation but I felt amazing on the bike, totally confident," Armstrong said. "The big, big days and the big difficulties are done. Now we have to stay safe, stay conservative and look to the final time trial and try and close it out."

Pereiro completed Tuesday's 112.2-mile trek in 4 hours, 38 minutes, 40 seconds for his and his Swiss Phonak team's first win at the Tour. Armstrong, Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich and other top riders were 3:24 back.

Armstrong's lead over Basso, who is looking to improve on his third-place finish last year, remains at 2:46. Mickael Rasmussen is third, 3:09 behind the six-time champion.

Ullrich, the 1997 Tour winner who is fourth overall, trails Armstrong by 5:58.

Armstrong, who was a brash young racer when he started but over time has come to respect the 102-year-old Tour's traditions, said he wants to honor the yellow jersey by riding all-out in the time trial on Saturday - a discipline in which he excels.

"I have to stay with my boys, stay out of trouble, then get to the final time trial, ride as hard as I can, represent the yellow jersey, show that he deserves to be the champ, then ride into Paris, a few laps, and that's it," he said.

In his winning Tours from 1999-2004, Armstrong won 19 individual stages, 10 of them time trials. In all but 2003, his shakiest victory, Armstrong's winning margins in Paris have exceeded 6 minutes. In 2003, he beat Ullrich by just 61 seconds.

Ullrich, Basso and Alexandre Vinokourov were among those who put on uphill bursts of speed on Tuesday on the steep Col de Marie-Blanque and the longer ascent up to the Col d'Aubisque, the two hardest of four climbs. But Armstrong never looked troubled - even when his teammates couldn't match the pace.

"I'm feeling better and better every day," he said.

Pereiro's win made up for his disappointment in the 15th stage, when he placed second, beaten in a finishing sprint by Armstrong's Discovery Channel teammate, George Hincapie.

But some rivals already are pinning their hopes on next year - when Armstrong will not be competing.

"When Lance Armstrong, the sheriff, is no longer here, then we can think about doing something more," said Francisco Mancebo, a Spaniard who is fifth overall.

Armstrong is so relaxed that he's even able to savor his last Tour. Aside from the race, he set out at the start on July 2 with the objective of winning the hearts of French fans. He said Tuesday that he feels the French are, by and large, behind him.

"The amount of support is great this year," he said. "If there's 1 in 100 that are negative, don't dwell on that, think of the 99 that are positive, and remember this Tour, remember this last week, remember these last days.

"It will never be like this again for me," he added. "I will never be in yellow again, and that's a special thing, so I need to cherish those moments."

jynni
07-19-2005, 04:02 PM
It does seem like the negativity from some of the French Tour fans has subsided. They seem to have resigned to the fact that Lance is kicking everyone's collective asses.

carlos3652
07-19-2005, 04:23 PM
A person without any interest in bike racing (myself) would be in awe by his life story and the obstacles he has overcome. Its peoples story like his.... that, when you have down times in your life you think about their life and say "Shame on me im going to shake the dust off and move on with my head held up."

For those who don't already know here is a fact about Lance.........

Armstrong has a big heart, literally. His heart is almost a third larger than that of an average man. It beats about thirty-two times a minute during those rare moments when Armstrong is at rest, and can exceed two hundred beats a minute when he exerts himself. Either number is far enough from the norm to startle any doctor with a stethoscope.

Vince Vaughn: I'm quitting...
Armstrong: I thought about quitting once when I was diagnosed with cancer...but I'm sure you have a good reason too...

StcChief
07-19-2005, 04:28 PM
Lance is the man, screw the world, Even with just 1 nut.

Saulbadguy
07-20-2005, 07:42 AM
Can I have the 90 seconds of my life that I spent reading a soccer post back? :shake:
Dude. You are reading a thread about cycling.

BIG_DADDY
07-20-2005, 12:44 PM
79th yellow jersey
Jul 20, 1:40 PM (ET) Email this Story


REVEL, France (AP) - Lance Armstrong claimed his 79th yellow jersey Wednesday at the Tour de France in a stage won by Discovery Channel teammate Paolo Savoldelli.

Armstrong tied French great Bernard Hinault. Only Eddy Merckx, with 111, has won more yellow jerseys. Merckx, Hinault, Miguel Indurain and Jacques Anquetil all won five Tours - a record Armstrong surpassed last year.

Savoldelli's victory in the 17th stage, the longest this year, was the third for Armstrong's Discovery Channel team at this year's race. George Hincapie won a stage in the Pyrenees and the squad won the team time trial.

Hincapie and Savoldelli are the first of Armstrong's teammates to win a stage in the Tour since the Texan's run of victories began in 1999. Armstrong finished in a small group 22 minutes and 28 seconds behind Savoldelli and his overall lead remained unchanged.

Armstrong got the news about Savoldelli's win from his team director over his race radio.

"It was surreal," Armstrong said. "We all looked at each other and said: 'Did he just say that Paolo won the stage?' It keeps getting better."

Savoldelli also won his second Giro d'Italia title earlier this year, overcoming injuries and health problems that almost ended his career.

"It's been a very lucky year for me," he said.

Savoldelli was part of a breakaway group that built up a lead of more than 24 minutes over Armstrong's following pack. Because the riders ahead were no threat to his overall lead, Armstrong did not give chase.

Instead, the main pack of riders took it easy for much of the 148.8-mile trek across southern France from Pau to Revel. Their average speed over the second and third hours of the stage was less than 25 miles an hour - slower than usual.

Only toward the end did Armstrong and other top riders up the pace.

Savoldelli's time was 5 hours, 41 minutes and 19 seconds, riding at average of 26.1 miles per hour.

Armstrong's overall lead over Ivan Basso of Italy, who also finished in his group, stayed at 2:46. Mickael Rasmussen of Denmark is 3:09 back.

His Discovery squad is also leading the Tour's team standings.

Armstrong and the others in the main pack, including his closest rivals, soaked up the scenery of rolling hills, picturesque villages and freshly harvested fields, chatting and occasionally joking with television crews.

Armstrong even hammed it up for TV viewers - a clear indication that the pressure on him eased when he emerged from the last day in the high mountains on Tuesday with his comfortable lead intact.

"George, George," he shouted to Hincapie, urging him to speak to the cameras.

"I'm working, I can't speak," Hincapie said as he pedaled.

Toward the end of the stage, there was dramatic jostling for places below Armstrong in the overall standings.

Going into the last of four hills on the route, 1997 Tour winner Jan Ullrich's T-Mobile team began to speed up.

Ullrich and teammate Alexandre Vinokourov both accelerated, taking other racers by surprise. Armstrong and seven other riders managed to match the quick pace, but a large bunch of other racers did not and were dropped.

They included Australian Cadel Evans and American Floyd Landis, who both started the stage just ahead of Vinokourov in seventh and eighth place, respectively.

But they finished 20 seconds behind Vinokourov. That was good enough to vault the Kazakh rider ahead of both Evans and Landis and into seventh place.

BIG_DADDY
07-21-2005, 12:24 PM
THEY FUGGIN DRUG TESTED ARMSTRONG 3 DAYS BEFORE HIS RETIREMENT. THE FRIGGEN FRENCH UNBELIEVABLE. WITH ALL THE EFFORT HE HAS WENT THROUGH TO STICK UP FOR THOSE PUSSIES TOO. :shake:

Armstrong Keeps Overall Lead; Spain's Serrano Wins 18th Stage
Jul 21, 12:41 PM (ET) Email this Story

By JOHN LEICESTER
MENDE, France (AP) - Lance Armstrong easily retained his overall lead after a tricky 18th stage of the Tour de France, won Thursday by Spain's Marcos Serrano.

Armstrong finished in a group with Ivan Basso of Italy, Jan Ullrich of Germany and Cadel Evans of Australia. The six-time champion's lead over Basso, his closest challenger, remained unchanged at 2 minutes and 46 seconds.

The only surprise for Armstrong came at the end of the stage, when he was given a drug test.

The four riders broke away from other challengers with a burst of speed during a brutal final ascent in south-central France, though they still finished more than 11 minutes behind Serrano.

Mickael Rasmussen is still third, but he was slower up the last climb and finished behind Armstrong's group. He is now 3:46 behind Armstrong, who is on course to win his seventh straight Tour before his retirement.


Ullrich is still fourth, 5:58 behind Armstrong. But by making time back over Rasmussen, the 1997 Tour winner improved his chances of being able to overtake the Dane in the time trial on Saturday, the penultimate day of the three-week race.

Serrano was one of 10 riders that broke away from the main pack containing Armstrong early in the 117-mile route from Albi.

Because the riders ahead were not a threat to his overall lead, Armstrong and other racers in the main pack were able to relax a little on the trek that took them under the world's tallest bridge, near Millau.

Armstrong again joked with TV cameramen following on motorcycles.

"I'm OK for an old man," said the 33-year-old.

The stage was run under baking sun and had five hill climbs, including the steep final ascent that winds up from Mende to a nearby aerodrome.

Serrano shook off the remaining members of his group on the last ascent, scything through the dense crowds that flooded onto the road and won a stage for the first time in his career.

"It's incredible," said Serrano, who finished ninth in the Tour in 2001. "We work, we ride and finally we succeed."

He covered the route in 4 hours, 37 minutes and 36 seconds. Armstrong, Basso, Ullrich and Evans were 11:18 back. Rasmussen was another 37 seconds slower than them.

Another hilly route through central France awaits Friday before the time trial on Saturday that should fix the finishing order for the leading riders for good before Sunday's final ride into Paris.

Ultra Peanut
07-21-2005, 12:26 PM
Vince Vaughn: I'm quitting...
Armstrong: I thought about quitting once when I was diagnosed with cancer...but I'm sure you have a good reason too...ROFL

Mr. Laz
07-21-2005, 12:29 PM
The only surprise for Armstrong came at the end of the stage, when he was given a drug test.
fug'em!!


all these drug tests just make Armstrongs victories all the sweeter


no excuses, no bull after this win

bkkcoh
07-21-2005, 01:27 PM
Remember though, it was the french press that thought that Lance had an unfair advantage because of the drugs that was taken to combat the cancer.

What a joke.

Kclee
07-22-2005, 12:08 PM
I'd give my left nut to win the Tour de France.

Saulbadguy
07-22-2005, 12:14 PM
I'd give my left nut to win the Tour de France.
ROFL

BIG_DADDY
07-22-2005, 12:16 PM
Remember though, it was the french press that thought that Lance had an unfair advantage because of the drugs that was taken to combat the cancer.

What a joke.


He's basically won it. He has also done everything he can to make peace with the French in spite of them spitting on him and printing shit about him over the years. So how do they do to repay him? Give him a drug test just before he crosses the finish line and retires. One more chance to possible piss him I guess. No wonder everyone hates the French.

Saul Good
07-22-2005, 01:21 PM
Just a few more days until Lance retires and everyone can stop pretending they care about cycling forever.

carlos3652
07-23-2005, 09:46 AM
bump

Ultra Peanut
07-23-2005, 09:54 AM
Just a few more days until Lance retires and everyone can stop pretending they care about cycling forever.What's that, Cameo?

PastorMikH
07-24-2005, 12:23 PM
So is the race officially over yet?




Nevermind. I just saw on MSN where the race is over and Lance has officially won.

Frazod
07-24-2005, 12:27 PM
Just a few more days until Lance retires and everyone can stop pretending they care about cycling forever.

I don't care now. While the idea of the pain it must cause the Frogs to have an American win this over and over certainly makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside, I don't care about bicycling anymore than I do golf or soccer.

Thig Lyfe
07-24-2005, 12:28 PM
Let's here it for him.

KCChiefsMan
07-24-2005, 01:53 PM
Even thought I could care less about cycling I have to respect Lance Armstrong, he's unbelievable

alanm
07-24-2005, 01:58 PM
I don't care now. While the idea of the pain it must cause the Frogs to have an American win this over and over certainly makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside, I don't care about bicycling anymore than I do golf or soccer.
Leave it to Tim to succinctly sum it up in a nutshell. :)

Tuckdaddy
07-25-2005, 01:55 AM
Who cares? Lance only rides in one event. He's not dominate in cycling as a whole, just the Tour.