July 20, 2004
Armstrong in familiar yellow
Rather than rise to the bait, and ride one-on-one with Ullrich, Armstrong stayed in a select group with teammates and other elite riders, gradually reeled in Ullrich, Richard Virenque, Michael Rasmussen, and other riders who had gotten up the road, then matched the tempo set by Ullrich and T-Mobile teammate Andreas Klöden on the final climb before finally riding away from the pair, along with CSC's Ivan Basso, in the last 300 meters of the day.
"Johan Bruyneel (the US Postal team boss) said to me this morning he expected Jan to break," said Armstrong afterwards.
"But it was harder than I expected - more aggressive. But it's great to be back in yellow today."
Ullrich has clawed his way back into the Top 5 on the race, but hasn't put significant time into either CSC's Ivan Basso or Ullrich's teammate Andreas Klöden, and it looks like he will have to unseat one of them to move onto the podium.
Thomas Voeckler was finally unseated from the race lead, a lead that seemed precarious when he took it but led to the 25-year-old becoming the toast of France. He can take comfort in the white jersey awarded to the best rider 25 or under, a competition he currently leads by 7:41 over fdjeux.com's Sandy Casar.
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