July 25, 2004
Next Tour winner not named Armstrong?
Reuters takes a look at the young generation coming of age, and who might eventually win the Tour.
Obvious candidates are Andreas Klöden, 29, and Ivan Basso, 26, who rounded out the podium.
"My stage win was a clear sign of how I've improved and that I was as strong as Armstrong in the first two weeks of the Tour," said Basso.
"I'm only 26 and so I've got time on my side. I'll be able to ride at least eight more Tours and so there's a good chance I win at least one of them."
Reuters identifies Voeckler and Sandy Casar as the great French hopes of the moment.
Of Russia's white jersey Vladimir Karpets:
Very shy off the bike, Karpets transforms into a powerful all round rider who can climb, time trial and look after himself in the flat stages that are often affected by wind and rain.
This year he was 13th overall, more than 25 minutes behind Armstrong but as he matures and improves he will surely move up in the overall standings, perhaps becoming the first Russian rider to win the Tour.
And not even at the Tour this year were Giro d'Italia winner Damiano Cuñego of Saeco and Alejandro Valverde of CV-Kelme.
Another interesting question is "who will replace Armstrong as the outstanding American rider?"
Most Americans in the peloton are within a couple of years of Armstrong's 32, and so on the downhill side of the athletic curve. Leipheimer is 30, Vande Velde and Landis 28, Julich 32, and Hincapie 31.
One candidate is 26-year-old Tom Danielson, currently riding for Fassa Bortolo, but left off their Tour squad. He just took 4:10 off Mike Engleman's 12-year-old record in the Mt. Evans Hill Climb, and is prepping for the Vuelta a España.
I feel stupid for forgetting Michael Rogers of Quick Step, who had a disappointing Tour at 22nd overall. He demonstrated his time trialing prowess taking 2nd (soon to be 1st) to David Millar at last year's TT world championship.
Rogers, writing for BBC Sport, also tips Benjamin Noval of USPS as a rider to watch.
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