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July 12, 2005

Le Tour: Climbing towards 7

Armstrong takes control of Tour.

There have been a lot of people that said the Tour de France would begin in the Alps. For my money, the Tour just ended in the Alps.

Three days ago, the Discovery Channel team was left on the slopes of the Black Forest. Lance was left all by himself to fend off numerous attacks. He covered attacks by Jan Ullrich and Alexandre Vinokourov, but had to let Andreas Kloden go. Discovery raced better on Sunday, but decided retreat was the better part of valor, giving up the yellow Jersey to Jens Voight. These episodes led many to question whether Lance and Discovery were strong enough to survive in the Alps.

I don't think anyone will be questioning Lance or his team after today. On the final climb towards Courchevel, Discovery set a blistering pace that dropped more than a few strong riders, winnowing the field to a handful of bikers.

When the last of his teammates dropped away, Lance turned the screw even tighter and dropped all but one young rider, Alejandro Valverde. By the end of the stage, won by Valverde, Lance was back in yellow and back in command of the race. Only one rider is within less than 2'40" with plenty of mountains left to climb.

Armstrong looks as strong as ever in the pursuit of Tour championship number 7. I can't wait to get home and watch this stage on TV!


Posted by Kehaar at July 12, 2005 01:29 PM | TrackBack
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Comments

I don't know anyone who questioned Discovery's ability when Voight took yellow, considering all the talk there was earlier in the race about DSC letting him take it to get pressure off of them, knowing that Voight can't do the time trials.

At any rate, amazing performances today by DSC, Lance, Valverde, and Rasmussen. Biggest surprise of the day for me was the way that Vino cracked. Can't wait to see them all face to face at Ax on Saturday.

Posted by: Patrick O'Leary at July 12, 2005 02:58 PM

I was also surprised that Vino cracked. Basso was another that I expected to be there. DSC must've really been hauling ass up that mountain.

You're right about the Voight think, of course. I was thinking of the earlier stage when Kloden escaped and DSC wasn't even around to help. Getting my stages confused.

At any rate, it's been a great tour thus far. I'm ALMOST beginning to hope Lance will shoot for number 8 next year, but I do want to see some new drama. The old drama is getting a little predictable!

Posted by: Kehaar at July 12, 2005 04:13 PM

Okay, edited my post to correct my poor memory!

Posted by: Kehaar at July 12, 2005 04:22 PM
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