July 15, 2004
Moncoutie takes Stage 11; what French drought?
David Moncoutie found a winning break and rode away from it to take Thursday's Stage 11.
Moncoutie's breakaway companions were next, with Fassa Bortolo's Juan Antonio Flecha 2nd and Euskaltel-Euskadi's Egoi Martinez 3rd.
Thor Hushovd took the field sprint, ahead of Erik Zabel, Robbie McEwen, and Paolo Bettini. Armstrong again rode in with the sprinters in search of any time gap among the leaders on the uphill finish.
The Top 10:
8) Danilo Hondo
9) Lance Armstrong
10) Stuart O'Grady
It was the second consecutive stage win for a French rider, and the 2nd stage win of the Tour for Moncoutie's Cofidis team. Additionally, Thomas Voeckler of France is wearing the yellow jersey at least until Friday.
The GC is essentially unchanged, although Jakob Piil lost 12 seconds on the uphill finish, as did Gilberto Simoni and Laurent Dufaux.
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The day before the Tour hits the Pyrenees, Le Monde and LeMond hit Armstrong hard :
Greg LeMond tells the French daily that
"Armstrong is ready to do anything to keep his secret. " He adds that even if the Texan wins a sixth tour, his victories "would not have the same value as Hinault's five."
Is Greg jealousy or just honest?
Posted by: jmf at Jul 15, 2004 4:46:17 PM
I read the article in the original French and Lemond certainly sounds like he believes what he says. Evidently his wife Kathy cooperated with that LA Confidential book, telling them that Lance called Lemond up in 2001 and accused Lemond of having used EPO, saying 'You couldn't have won the Tour otherwise.'
Lemond says doping has changed his sport drastically in the last decade, that one year after he won his 3rd tour, he and his teammates could no longer keep up with the peloton, and that overnight, riders who had never won anything were suddenly winning. He attributes this to doping.
Le Monde (the newspaper now) also has an article, nominally about the Livestrong bracelets being sold by Lance's foundation, that quotes French cancer specialists saying it's physiologically impossible that someone could survive metastatic cancer and go on to win the Tour.
Compare that with a third article 'It's pure Virenque' that says 'hallelujah' to the French rider's victory on Bastille Day and recounts his exploits in winning the stage, with not a word about his own doping history. Which I guess is old news after all.
Still, I get the distinct impression from the tone and angle of these articles that Le Monde has an agenda.
There is an AP article out today also saying Lance is accusing France TV 3 reporters of trying to gain access to his hotel room to look for evidence against him: http://www3.cjad.com/content/cp_article.asp?id=/global_feeds/canadianpress/sportsnews/s071561A.htm
Posted by: lancefan at Jul 15, 2004 5:24:11 PM
Sorry, guys, the real world intruded a little bit, and I've only just gotten around to posting the bit from Le Monde and Lance's claims about the TV crew.
Armstrong's timing seems, well, interesting. I guess it could be that, with the higher stress he's likely to be under in the next few days, the surveillance leaves him more irritated than it did in the opening stages.
A more conspiratorial mind might wonder if the presence of press bloodhounds might be affecting his, um, medical program aimed at the crucial stages.
Posted by: Frank at Jul 15, 2004 5:33:33 PM
He has to be the most watched athlete in a massively watched event though. It's hard to imagine how he and the team can slip into some safehouse somewhere and shoot up, or whatever it is dopers do, without someone cottoning on to their whereabouts.
Posted by: lancefan at Jul 15, 2004 8:08:49 PM
LeMonde seems to have some sour grapes. He needs to find something more positive to report on and then maybe people will take him a bit more seriously.
Posted by: vicky at Jul 24, 2004 12:24:10 AM