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July 21, 2004

Armstrong wins Alpe d'Huez TT; 3rd stage win of the Tour

Lance Armstrong absolutely scorched the climb to L'Alpe d'Huez, putting time into every rival with a 39:41 ride up the 15.5 km course. It was Armstrong's 19th individual career Tour win (21 with team time trials), and 3rd of this Tour.

The records for the climb of L'Alpe d'Huez actually cover just 13.9km of the climb, and Armstrong's time over that section was a 37:36, 1 second slower than the late Marco Pantani's record from 1997, and about 30 seconds faster than Armstrong's previous best time (both on road stages).

Post-stage, Armstrong said he thinks it's a bad idea to run the time trial on Alpe d'Huez, because of the number of campers and drinkers who could be dangerous.

Jan Ullrich, who couldn't know what Armstrong's time would be, led the way at every intermediate check, but Armstrong smoked those numbers, and Ullrich lost more than a minute on the stage, with a 2nd-best 40:42.

Armstrong actually passed Ivan Basso, who started 2 minutes ahead of him and clocked a 42:04.

T-Mobile's Andreas Klöden made up 42 seconds on Basso, and still might knock him out of 2nd.

Stage Top 10:
1) Lance Armstrong (US Postal) 39:41
2) Jan Ullrich (T-Mobile) at 1:01
3) Andreas Klöden (T-Mobile) at 1:41
4) José Azevedo (US Postal) at 1:45
5) Santos Gonzalez (Phonak) at 2:10
6) Giuseppe Guerini (T-Mobile) at 2:11
7) Vladimir Karpets (Illes Balears-Banesto) at 2:14
8) Ivan Basso (CSC) at 2:22
9) David Moncoutié (Cofidis) at 2:22
10) Carlos Sastre (CSC) at 2:27

Two riders finished outside the time limit for the stage: Quick Step's Davide Bramati and Lotto-Domo's Aart Vierhouten, leaving 155 riders in the Tour.

Also under attack is Thomas Voeckler's white jersey. Voeckler now leads Vladimir Karpets of Illes Balears-Banesto by 3:33, and judging by their respective time-trial performances today, I doubt that will be enough in the long time-trial of Stage 19. Sandy Casar is also lurking, 4:24 back of Voeckler.

The new overall Top 10:
1) Armstrong
2) Basso at 3:48
3) Klöden at 5:03
4) Ullrich at 7:55
5) Azevedo at 9:19
6) Francisco Mancebo (Illes Balears-Banesto) at 9:20
7) Georg Totschnig (Gerolsteiner) at 11:34
8) Sastre at 13:52
9) Pietro Caucchioli at 14:08
10) Levi Leipheimer at 15:04

Posted by Frank Steele on July 21, 2004 in Andreas Klöden, Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich, Lance Armstrong 2004, Marco Pantani, Stage results, Top Stories | Permalink


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Wow. Unbelieveable stage.

Posted by: David at Jul 21, 2004 11:48:14 AM

You said it. That was AWESOME!

Posted by: mashby at Jul 21, 2004 11:49:44 AM

Hey, great blog - I just stumbled onto it yesterday. I'm overseas but have followed the last 3 Tours (including this one) online. It sucks but it's better than just waiting until the newspapers come out!

Go Lance!

Posted by: Joe at Jul 21, 2004 11:51:44 AM

Ullrich did not lead at every intermediate check. He was 40 sec down at the 24 min mark.

Posted by: Out4Blood at Jul 21, 2004 12:02:43 PM

To understand the meaning of this time trail try riding at 23 MPH on a flat road. It is hard!! very hard. Doing it for 15 miles requires lots of training. Doing it up the Alpe d'Huez at 8% incline is unthinkable.
Lance has to be consider the absolute best. PERIOD.

Posted by: Henry at Jul 21, 2004 12:03:51 PM

I forget which rider said it right at the start of this year's Tour (maybe Robbie McEwan?), but it was in response to a question about whether the attempted hack-job on Armstrong by his long-time nemesis in the press would distract Lance. The response was something like this: "Distract him? It's just going to piss him off, and that's the last thing the rest of us need." Looks like he was right. Yikes -- what an arse-kicking L'Alpe d'Huez became. To those who said Lance couldn't muster the emotion or passion to win his 6th, how's that for passion? Game, set, and match!

Posted by: Larry at Jul 21, 2004 12:04:18 PM

I actually had to sneak out of my cubicle to catch it at the ESPN Zone a couple of blocks away. The moment when Lance passes Basso is UNREAL. Absolutely astounding stage!

Oh, and great site!

Posted by: Jed at Jul 21, 2004 12:08:16 PM

Ullrich did not lead at every intermediate check. He was 40 sec down at the 24 min mark.

Posted by: Out4Blood at July 21, 2004 12:02 PM


I think they meant as he hit the intermediate checks.

Posted by: Larry at Jul 21, 2004 12:12:07 PM

Sorry -- I meant that Ullrich set the best time at each intermediate check. Obviously, one rider managed to beat all those times: Armstrong.

I cleaned up the verbiage on the main post, thanks!

Posted by: Frank at Jul 21, 2004 12:13:10 PM

Also, Armstrong's average speed was 23.44 KILOMETERS/hour, which Google tells me is 14.56 miles/hour, as Liggett would say, "in old money."

Still, I have flattish rides where I don't average that!

Posted by: Frank at Jul 21, 2004 12:15:45 PM

What about Lance's aerobar setup? Such a big deal in Chronicles, etc., yet they left them off? Of course the bike failed weigh-in.

Anyone know what was added in the form of ballast? Did the water in the bottle count?

Also, seems Lance's saddle was further forward than usual, more in time-trialing mode. But for a mountain stage?

Posted by: tms at Jul 21, 2004 12:37:58 PM

Jake Mate...
Superb ride by Lance
Bravo to Ulrich but
not enough ...
Basso se ya next year !
23 km/h avg not mi/h ... still
almost imposible !

Posted by: Leon Garcia Cano at Jul 21, 2004 12:57:49 PM

Tour design irony: Every year, they try to make the Tour too hard for Lance, but only succeed in creating a course that no one but Lance can win. This year was the absurd limit - contenders couldn't match the pace of "Le Train Bleu." It's the Tiger Woods phenom: They created courses/tournaments so tough that other golfers couldn't hang. So, why not go the other way? Make it easier. Shorten the TTs and the climbs, and the competition will follow.

Posted by: Geoff at Jul 21, 2004 2:13:24 PM

Holy smokes was he fast. He bent the time-space continuum !


Posted by: tms at Jul 21, 2004 2:36:11 PM

It is great. Dedication and hard work. Hope Armstrong prevails.

Posted by: frank reid at Jul 21, 2004 2:51:44 PM

Stuck at work, what was the complaint about the German fans? Too vocal or was there more??

Posted by: JimW at Jul 21, 2004 3:46:05 PM

How does a girl go from Kid Rock to Lance?

Posted by: M@cands at Jul 21, 2004 4:12:11 PM

"Stuck at work, what was the complaint about the German fans? Too vocal or was there more??"

It was more what he didn't say. The interviewer asked about the crowds, and Lance said, 'The crowds were animated... a lot of German supporters, a lot of, how should I say... uh...'

He was apparently trying to think of a diplomatic way of saying 'obnoxious' I think. ;)

But the interview then cut him off and asked him another question, that's when Lance went on to say, 'I don't think it's a good idea to have a time trial on the Alpe. It was scary. There were too many people, a lot of Germans, a lot of Belgians who weren't being too nice.'

Posted by: lancefan at Jul 21, 2004 4:21:39 PM

Great web site, this canadian thinks Lance is the absolute most amazing machine ever created ! Can someone confirmed if the great Pantani record was shatered today ?

BTW, did everyone see all the fingers plastered in Armstrong face, the EPO writing on the street.

Yesterday, I think it was Ullrich who got a whole bottle of liquid thrown in the face by some old bag. I swear I just want morph in the TV, transpond to France and slap around a couple of Frenchies. criss de francais...

Posted by: yo yo man at Jul 21, 2004 4:24:50 PM

I just listened to Lance's interview with French tv... he said a bit more there (but just a bit):

'I had a lot of fear. Frankly, I don't thnk it's not a good idea to do a time trial on L'Alpe d'Huez. But it's over and I didn't really have a problem. But a lot of the German fans behaved in a disgusting manner. C'est la vie.'

Interviewer then asked, 'Were there people who behaved badly towards you along the route?'

'It was a mixture. There were a lot of Americans, Belgians and Dutch and they were great... but other people, like I said, did some disgusting things, but c'est la vie.'

Posted by: lancefan at Jul 21, 2004 4:42:15 PM