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July 22, 2004

The selfish patron: Armstrong yet again!

Lance Armstrong chased down a late-stage attack by Andreas Klöden to take Stage 17; more soon.

Update: To everyone who doesn't like the headline, it was intended to convey Armstrong's dominance of this race; it seems like he's not even leaving crumbs for the other riders. Pretty much like Petacchi's Giro d'Italia run this year.

The very idea of a race "patron" is one rooted in noblesse oblige: The patron is a sort of an overlord with obligations (to those weaker than himself) that come along with the position. In the same way that Merckx was branded a "cannibal" for essentially eating his opponents alive, we've seen an Armstrong that just won't play defense: they're all mine.

To many of us, it's great to see Armstrong playing it a little more passionate, and less calculating.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 22, 2004 in Lance Armstrong 2004 | Permalink


That was unbelievable.

Posted by: Steve at Jul 22, 2004 12:13:27 PM

I expect that was a little "present" from Armstrong to the German cycling fans. Too bad it wound up costing Klöden (who was the object of at least as much abuse from the same idiotic fans as Armstrong was on Alpe d'Huez) what would have been his first career TdF stage victory.

Posted by: Eric the Red at Jul 22, 2004 1:01:52 PM

I wouldn't be too quick to call Lance's move "selfish." From what he was saying after the stage, he was trying to set Landis up for the stage win, but Floyd couldn't hold off Klo[e]den.

Posted by: Dan at Jul 22, 2004 1:04:23 PM

How close was that photo finish. Anyone have a photo with the time markings? I've seen the photo, would be curious if lance was ahead by .1 or .01 seconds

Posted by: August at Jul 22, 2004 1:23:45 PM

True, it may have been simple competitive drive - when Armstrong saw that Landis wasn't going to beat the 2 Germans, he may have figured "might as well try my hand."

I believe this win is also historical - first time anyone has won 4 consecutive mountain stages. (Stage 14, won by Speedy Gonzalez, was flat.) One more stage win would give Armstrong 5 in one Tour, which I believe would also be a record. Together with Virenque today locking up his 7th KOTM jersey, there is lots of history being made this year.

Posted by: Eric the Red at Jul 22, 2004 1:27:48 PM

To August: Armstrong won by precisely the width of his front wheel. There's a nice hphoto from the official finish camera on the OLNTV website:


Posted by: Eric the Red at Jul 22, 2004 1:30:18 PM

C'mon people - Armstrong was punishing the Germans for denying Landis the stage. They got what they earned and deserved - a kick in the ass.

Posted by: Dave at Jul 22, 2004 1:40:00 PM

I trust the selfish comment was made tongue-in-cheek. This was a truly amazing stage. It seems no one had ever won 4 mountain stages in the Tour de France in a row, until today. Lance now has a decent chance of winning one more satge, but there is no way that's a record. Eddie Merckx one 8 stages in one tour twice.

Posted by: BigDave at Jul 22, 2004 1:48:43 PM

So? All competitive people are inherently selfish. Go Lance!

Posted by: FelineKewl at Jul 22, 2004 1:49:56 PM

I've got to learn to check my spelling BEFORE I click the post button!

Posted by: BigDave at Jul 22, 2004 1:51:49 PM

To me, the reason that Lance took today's stage is clear. First, he tried to set up Landis for the win and the T-Mobile folks denied it. That, coupled with the rude behavior of the German spectators during yesterday's stage must have angered him. He was not about to let the German public celebrate a stage victory today. Hence, he grabbed the victory for himself (and indirectly for his team). Landis hugged him after the finish, essentially saying 'Thank you' for taking care of Ullrich and Kloden.

The French press were playing sour grapes wondering why he didn't let the young and talented Kloden take the race, calling Lance 'insatiable' - but to me it was pretty clear why things happened the way they did.

Posted by: Graham at Jul 22, 2004 1:59:39 PM

Whoops, I meant that 5 stages would be a personal record for Armstrong - obviously Merckx won ungodly numbers of stages back in his take-no-prisoners heyday.

Posted by: Eric the Red at Jul 22, 2004 2:03:03 PM

Ach du lieber, Armstrong!!! Lets do it again!!!

Posted by: rfb at Jul 22, 2004 2:42:59 PM

I'm sorry,

I didn't mean to suggest that Armstrong is selfish in a base way, just in the "selfish gene" sense, and in the sense that, like Petacchi in the Giro this year, it seems like he's winning at will, and not even leaving crumbs for the other riders.

Posted by: Frank at Jul 22, 2004 2:45:12 PM

I'm sure Lance was thinking that if Floyd wasn't going to win, then I shouldn't let my competitors have the time bonus with the victory. With several stages, TT included, Lance doesn't want his opponents to have any breathing room.

Posted by: Jake Stream at Jul 22, 2004 2:58:35 PM

I understand that the United States is not a perfect country. Which one is? I am not seeing ugly Americans, but people that are trashing some wonderful countries....France and Germany being two of them. This was happening long before George W. Bush was elected.

Even we Americans can take just so much abuse. We have paid the price in lives and property for you so you can try and tear us down.

Why don't you grow up and quite expecting your egos to be fortified by others' actions.

I work with emotionally disturbed teenagers and what I tell them, I will tell you....quite playing victim and go do something productive for society and the world.

I have to say, I am in awe of how some of you act. Somewhere your parenting broke down and you were not taught to stand on your own two feet and not blame others for your shortcomings.

Any strength taken to extremes becomes a weakness. I think you have gone so far that reality is not an option.

I put myself on the line for you but I hope my grandchildren won't be so idealistic and come to the help of people that wish them so much harm

In Faith, Hope, and Love,

Dr. Robert Otey

Posted by: Dr. Robert Otey at Jul 22, 2004 3:13:16 PM

To hear anyone suggest that Lance Armstrong is or was being selfish in taking the win in stage 17 is pathetic. 1)He tried to let Landis take the win but Landis didnt have enough legs left to hold off the sprint after leading (pulling)the top contenders up the mountain. Armstrong gave Ullrick the opportunity to lead them to the finish but Ulrick doesnt have the legs left either
and looks back for his teamate, then kloder blasts off, this I believe was asking too much of Armstrongs generosity, so he used his continued hard work and continueous determination to reel kloden in and take the stage victory for himself and USP, I do believe that Kloden was the one guilty of the selfeshness in this case, in the way he tried to take the win. Lets not forget that Armstrong has already allowed 1 stage win to go to a competitor from a different team that he has proven that he could have taken for himself if not for his generosity.

Posted by: kcoffman at Jul 22, 2004 3:58:21 PM

Let's recap:

German fans are boors, spitting on even some other germans who happen to be on a different team, as well as menacing lance. Disgusting behavior.

I think seeing Kloden breaking for it after
following a teammate up the mountain was too much. That was an INCREDIBLE come from behind on lances part, I was out of my seat yelling at the screen.

Lance was basically saying, if you want to play tough, I can play tough to, and with that, whamo.

Then to see the French get on lance's case for winning another stage, after trying to break into his hotel room to plant drugs etc etc. It is past all beleif, the french and germans are boors.

Posted by: Jon at Jul 22, 2004 4:07:30 PM

This whole notion of "being selfish" or "letting" someone else win the stage is absurd. Sure, it would have been nice if Floyd could have broken away, and Lance gave him the green light, but that's not "gifting" the stage -- he had to do it on his own, and he just didn't have it once Kloden and Ullrich made their push.

As for "letting" Kloden win, give me a break -- it's a race, people, not a campfire sing-along. It's a beast of a stage in the world's greatest bike race, and Lance is supposed to be worried about letting someone else win? What???

The funny thing is, when Lance "let" Pantani take the stage win a couple years ago because Marco had "earned it," he was criticzed, even by Pantani. Now, he goes for the win, and he's criticized for that, too. Critics are never happy, I guess.

Posted by: Larry at Jul 22, 2004 4:21:02 PM

Ullrich blasts German fans here:


Posted by: jan ullrich at Jul 22, 2004 5:16:22 PM