June 10, 2005
Graham Watson: Armstrong "had a hand" in Stage 5 break
Graham Watson is doing a column for ThePaceline.com, and in today's edition he speculates (and admits to speculating) that today's breakaway that upset the Dauphiné applecart smells like an Armstrong operation.
It is fun and slightly mischievous to consider that in the big escape of the day, at least half of them are known to be chummy with Lance. Juan Antonio Flecha and Axel Merckx are two of his closest buddies, and add the fact that his own teamate Benjamin Noval was in the break as well, you can then hypothesize that Lance and his team had quite a hand in letting that escape get away – and then sat back and watched the others struggle to comprehend what was going on. Once the chase started – with Landaluze at least ten minutes ahead of the peloton, Lance and his teamates were able to watch as T-Mobile, then Phonak, then Gerolsteiner took it in turns to chase.
I also wonder about Levi Leipheimer's early break: Apparently, he and two teammates managed to gap the field among more than 30 other riders just 25 kms into the race today, forcing T-Mobile to the head of the field to ride tempo and bring them back.
There are a couple of pictures accompanying the article of Armstrong in an unusual jersey: the Dauphiné's "combined classification" jersey, whose color reminds me of Armstrong's first pro jersey, with Motorola.
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