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July 23, 2005

Armstrong gets his stage, nails down 7th Tour victory

Armstrong's last victory
Armstrong's last win
AP/ESPN
Lance Armstrong let it all hang out today, storming to a victory in the 2005 Tour's long time trial in St. Etienne.

T-Mobile's Jan Ullrich came to play, but couldn't quite hang with Armstrong, finishing 2nd on the day, 23 seconds slower than Armstrong.

The top 10 is a good demonstrator of US power in the sport: Besides Armstrong atop the heap, CSC's Bobby Julich was 4th at 1:33, Phonak's Floyd Landis was 6th at 2:02, Discovery's George Hincapie was 8th at 2:25. A little farther down the standings was Levi Leipheimer, 14th at 3:13, which catapults Leipheimer into 5th overall. Leipheimer will have to watch his back tomorrow, because Vinokourov is only 2 seconds behind him, easily overcome with an intermediate bonus sprint.

CSC's Ivan Basso was 4th on the day after going out too hard and leading the race at the 1st time check.

Michael Rasmussen, the king of the mountains, was the joker against the clock, switching bikes 4 times, and crashing twice, while losing 7:47 against Armstrong, and 7:24 to Ullrich, who moved into 3rd overall.

Armstrong rolled through the finish and straight over to his children, who arrived yesterday to watch Daddy work.

Top 10:
1) Armstrong, in 1:11:46
2) Ullrich, at :23
3) Vinokourov, at 1:16
4) Julich, at 1:22
5) Basso, at 1:54
6) Landis, at 2:02
7) Evans, at 2:06
8) Hincapie, at 2:25
9) Mancebo, at 2:51 (!)
10) Karpets, at 3:05

GC:
1) Armstrong
2) Basso, at 4:40
3) Ullrich, at 6:21
4) Mancebo, at 9:59
5) Leipheimer, at 11:25
6) Vinokourov, at 11:27
7) Rasmussen, at 11:33
8) Evans, at 11:55
9) Landis, at 12:44
10) Pereiro, at 16:04

Posted by Frank Steele on July 23, 2005 in Alexandre Vinokourov, Bobby Julich, Cadel Evans, George Hincapie, Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich, Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer, Michael Rasmussen, Stage results, Top Stories | Permalink

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Comments

Will there ever be another rider like Lance? It's been a pleasure to watch him these past few years (I've followed the Tour avidly since 2001).

Posted by: Joe Missionary at Jul 23, 2005 11:50:54 AM

i have never watched tour de france before but after watching lance armstrong i have enjoyed it so much but since he is retiring that might be the end of me watching again. he is really a true survivor and a very cool guy

Posted by: marivic and micky rebeira at Jul 23, 2005 11:57:14 AM

could a racer steal the yellow jersey from lance on the last day? if not, why not?

Posted by: andrew kaczmarek at Jul 23, 2005 12:21:49 PM

In cycling, it's rare for people to make up over 5 minutes in the last week. 2nd & 3rd places are satisfied with their positions, so someone 4th or lower would most likely go for it. A major accident would have to happen.

Posted by: Devans at Jul 23, 2005 12:31:34 PM

Andrew,

Somebody COULD beat him. Nobody WILL beat him. If a dangerous rider were to get up the road tomorrow (and only Basso or Ullrich would qualify now), not only would every member of Discovery be pouring on the coal at the head of the chase, but they would be helped by every member of Davitamon-Lotto and Cofidis. Any successful break tomorrow means DVL and COF lose their last shot at the green jersey, and at a win for McEwen or O'Grady on the Champs-Elysees, the biggest single victory a sprinter can take.

Posted by: Frank at Jul 23, 2005 12:39:53 PM

I had this crazy thought last night that Iker Flores of Euskaltel, currently in last place and not wanting to "win" the unofficial Lanterne Rouge award (unlike his older brother, who won it at least once and seemed to take a perverse kind of pride in finishing last) might go on a crazy break during tomorrow's mostly-ceremonial stage into Paris. Would anyone bother to chase him if he did, I wonder? Maybe whichever team has the currently next-to-last-placed rider? ;)

I know, it'll never happen, but it's funny to think about.

Posted by: EWM at Jul 23, 2005 3:19:15 PM

I want to know what in the world was going on with Rasmussen. Are there any interviews with him or his people? I know he's a poor time trialer, but two crashes and four bikes borders on the ridiculous. What's up with that?

Posted by: senioritis at Jul 23, 2005 3:25:49 PM

Lance is amazing. He makes it look so easy.

I felt sick watching Rasmussen do the endo. That could have cost him the polka dots as well as a podium spot. Terrible.

I believe it is tradition for the leader to not be attacked on the final day, especially not with such a lead. There will be sprints for the green jersey, but the race is basically over except for the champagne.

Posted by: jrodenbiker at Jul 23, 2005 3:55:27 PM

I think Rasmussen in the end was a victim of his own (and his countrymen's) much-heightened expectations: all of sudden winning the Polka Dots wasn't enough - a podium finish seemed to beckon. He was probably nervous enough in the past week, trying to keep the charging Ullrich at bay but still seeing the U-boat take back nearly a minute in the last climb of stage 18. That meant that Rasmussen would have to ride the TT of his life to have any chance at holding on to 3rd place. With all that pressure, after his first spill on today's dangerous TT course, I think Rasmussen just lost his nerve, and things went rapidly downhill from there. A classic case of choking under pressure if I've ever seen one. (In this case, you could say that the Chicken was the victim of the choking. ;) That same roundabout got several other riders in trouble, including top guys like Paolo Salvodelli and Santiago Botero - Botero in fact just completely misjudged it and wound up riding straight into the crowd - luckily he kept his wits about him, managed to slow down and stay upright, the fans got out of the way just in time, and Botero had a good laugh about it as he got himself back on course.

Sad for poor Rasmussen - I hope he manages to live this one and come back mentally unscathed in the coming years. At least he "still" won the KOM, which I'm sure was more than he possibly could've hoped for coming into the Tour - how quickly expectations can shift. Just ask Thomas Voeckler...

Posted by: EWM at Jul 23, 2005 4:45:30 PM

At least he "still" won the KOM, which I'm sure was more than he possibly could've hoped for coming into the Tour - how quickly expectations can shift.

Indeed. Samuel Abt wrote an article just a few short days ago titled Where to peak is Rasmussen's dilemma

Quote:
"...Says the director of [Rasmussen's] Rabobank team, Theo de Rooy: "He's already distinguished himself, accomplished all his goals and then some," he said. "He's had a wonderful Tour."

The rider agrees. "My Tour de France is already a success," he said. "I won a stage, I have the climbers' jersey, I'm well placed in the overall standings. If I sink to fifth place or even eighth" after a long time trial Saturday, "it doesn't matter.""

Alas, poor Mickael.

Posted by: noelle at Jul 23, 2005 5:30:42 PM

i wonder how will the tour de france next year without Lance... will Ullrich own the tour again?!! our will Basso be the favourite??
well i guess i will have to wait and see the tour next year. i just hope it will be interesting like when lance where there.
p.s.- I think this stage will shut up ll the people who talked BS about Lance!

Posted by: claudia at Jul 23, 2005 6:43:00 PM

I loved the dynamics of Armstrong with his kids. You could tell he was just Daddy to his daughters. His son seemed to realize a bit what was going on. Lance's mother and Sheryl Crowe seemed to get on pretty good too.

Posted by: Devans at Jul 23, 2005 11:58:24 PM

Rasmussen clearly lost his nerve. This sport, just like any other, is more about mental toughness than any other single factor. Congrats Lance. It was a pleasure watching you win again.

Posted by: Eric at Jul 24, 2005 4:05:06 AM

another wonderful ride / tour for the Armstrong machine....used to watch him in early 90's in the triathlon world....he was an amazing, raw, violiate talent then...prone to outbursts and rages; he has it all together now and will go out as one of the greatest tour champions ever....wonderful, wonderful

Posted by: DWMc at Jul 24, 2005 12:51:21 PM