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July 25, 2004

Stage 20:163 km Montereau to Champs-Elysees

Let's wrap this one up. It's a fairly flat stage, full of photo opps and clowning, where the 147 riders who have survived all 3 weeks celebrate their achievement.

Lance Armstrong will be riding a new gold and black bike that recognizes the "LiveStrong" campaign. Last year, US Postal paid a fine for wearing grey jerseys on the last stage; they'll likely do something similar to commemorate Armstrong's 6th consecutive Tour championship.

Starting Stage 20, it's:

m_jaune.gif Lance Armstrong (US Postal Service)

m_vert.gif Robbie McEwen (Lotto-Domo)

m_pois.gif Richard Virenque (Quick Step-Davitamon)

m_blanc.gif Vladimir Karpets (Illes Balears-Banesto)

There will be no changes in the yellow, polka-dot, or white jersey contests; Armstrong, Virenque and Karpets can relax and enjoy their overall champion status.

McEwen, on the other hand, has an 11-point lead on Thor Hushovd, and Erik Zabel and Stuart O'Grady still have a mathematical chance at taking his green jersey. There are two intermediate sprints on the day, at 86.5 km and on the first circuit of the Champs-Elysees at 115.5 km. There are 35 points for the finish, so these guys will be dicing all day.

Jimmy Casper of fdjeux.com is the lanterne rouge for this year's Tour. He has now finished the Tour twice, and finished last twice. Talk about unstoppable!

Also to be awarded today is the new award for most aggressive rider in the overall Tour. Jens Voigt is a candidate here, but my vote goes to Thomas Voeckler, who scrapped his way through 10 days in the yellow jersey.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 25, 2004 in Stage profiles, Top Stories | Permalink


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