July 17, 2004
Stage 13 underway
After today's abandons, there are only 4 complete teams left in this Tour de France:
Gerolsteiner's Fabian Wegmann has also abandoned today.
Leading the race over the first 4 climbs has been a break of 3, including Brioches la Boulangere's Sylvain Chavanel, Jens Voigt from Team CSC, and Michael Rasmussen of Rabobank. They've been up by about 5 minutes, but now Chavanel has been caught by Armstrong's group, and the gap to Voigt and Rasmussen has fallen under 2 minutes.
Iban Mayo is at least 10 minutes back on the stage, and clearly suffering on the Pyrenean climbs where he has made his reputation. He actually got off the bike (shades of Simoni), but was convinced to get back on, and continues. For now.
Thomas Voeckler continues to ride above his head in an incredible show of courage, and of the power the yellow jersey sometimes has to elevate a rider. He's again yo-yoed off the lead group on the climbs, but fought back, and is riding with Armstrong. He's reportedly had stomach problems, as well.
Jan Ullrich is still riding with Armstrong in the main field, but Heras is falling away from the leaders. He crashed earlier in the stage.
The elite group, once down under 20, has grown, as the riders get ready to start up Plateau de Beille, the first beyond-category climb of the race.
Richard Virenque's polka-dotted jersey has come under attack by Chavanel and Rasmussen, and Virenque has had to settle for 4th-place points over 5 climbs. Rasmussen now sits 2nd in the competition.
Onto the Plateau de Beille, 2 Posties immediately fell off the pace, Landis and Hincapie. Armstrong still has Rubiera and Azevedo, and Voeckler has finally fallen off the elite group.
So sad to see Tyler drop out today Saturday July 17. I was hoping it could be Tyler and Lance head to head till the end. Good work Tyler, you have done well.
Posted by: Tara Barrera at Jul 17, 2004 9:35:12 AM
Today was the day Tyler's foundation had organized viewing parties of Stage 13 in movie theaters across the U.S. The atmosphere there must be more funereal than festive. It's all so sad.
Posted by: lancefan at Jul 17, 2004 10:00:23 AM
I wonder how much the death of his dog contributed to that?
Posted by: The Clip-n-Seal Guy at Jul 17, 2004 10:05:59 AM
That loss has to have sapped his morale...
The silver lining for me in this year's Tour is Thomas Voeckler's emergence as this edition's true hero as Hamilton was last year.
Posted by: lancefan at Jul 17, 2004 10:14:44 AM