|Lance: "This has been a crisis-filled Tour..."||gtx|
Jul 21, 2003 10:41 AM
|from today's NYTimes article
"This has been a crisis-filled Tour. There have been a lot of strange things happening, things I haven't talked about."
Anyone know what he is referencing--what he hasn't talked about?
|please copy and past the article it wont open nm||african|
Jul 21, 2003 11:02 AM
|here goes - they just want you to register||gtx|
Jul 21, 2003 11:04 AM
|Armstrong Picks Himself Up and Widens His Lead in Tour
By SAMUEL ABT
UZ ARDIDEN, France, July 21 Shaking off a crash that left him lying on the road, Lance Armstrong the dominator reappeared in the Tour de France today, winning the major stage in the Pyrenees, significantly widening his overall lead and taking a big step toward his fifth consecutive victory.
After he hit a spectator and went down early on the last of six climbs, he told himself, he said later,"Lance, if you want to win the Tour, attack."
Attack, he did. The American leader of the United States Postal Service team remounted, sped to the main group and then survived another mishap when his bicycle malfunctioned and his right foot came out of its pedal. Once he corrected his wobble, he made it back to the small group of his main opponents.
Led by Jan Ullrich, the German in second place overall, they had slowed at the urging of Tyler Hamilton, Armstrong's former lieutenant and now the leader of the CSC team, who waved his hands and yelled at the group. The sport's unwritten code of chivalry dictates that nobody takes advantage of the leader when he has crashed.
After Armstrong returned to the front and order was restored, he raced away and nobody could catch him. There were about 9 kilometers (5.5 miles) left in the 13.4-kilometer (8.3 miles) climb to the resort of Luz Ardiden.
His face set in a grimace of determination, the Texan rode as he did in the mountains in his four Tour victories and as he had not done previously in this race with facility, power and suppleness.
"I wasn't angry when I attacked," he said, "I was desperate to gain time on Ullrich before the time trial."
At the finish, he was 40 seconds ahead of Ullrich. Combined with a 20-second time bonus for his victory, minus the eight seconds Ullrich gained for third place, Armstrong jumped from a 15-second lead at the start of the day to a lead of 1 minute 7 seconds at the end of it. Aleksandr Vinokourov, a Kazakh with Telekom who was 18 seconds back in third place before this 15th of 20 daily stages, lost more than two minutes and now trails, in third place, by 2:45.
Armstrong was timed in 4 hours 29 minutes 26 seconds, an average speed of 35.5 kilometers an hour (22 miles an hour) over the 159.5 kilometers (99 miles) from Bagnerès de Bigorre in cool weather that turned warm whenever the sun came out.
Of the six peaks climbed, the final two the Tourmalet and Luz Ardiden are rated beyond category in length, steepness and difficulty.
With huge crowds watching at the finish, he crossed the line shrouded in fog. On the way up, Armstrong overtook the lone survivor of an early two-man breakaway, Sylvain Chavanel, a Frenchman with Brioches la Boulangerè. As he passed him, Armstrong patted Chavenel on the back for his long exploit, only a small part of an epic stage.
Discussing his crash, the Texan said at a news conference, "It was my fault for riding too close on the right side of the road." His right hand appeared to bump against a spectator leaning into the road and down Armstrong went. Crashing atop him was Iban Mayo, a Spaniard with Euskaltel, who was also impeded later when Armstrong's foot came out of the pedal.
Mayo showed the same spunk Armstrong did, finishing second in the stage, 40 seconds behind, and remaining in fifth place overall.
Despite the triumph and show of restored force after a week of subpar performances, the American was wary of talking about a fifth victory before the final of four stages in the Pyrenees and a long time trial on Saturday.
"The Tour finishes on the Champs-Elyseés," he said, repeating his mantra. "Ullrich is a great rider. Anything is still possible."
The Texan was asked whether he knew that Ullrich, the leader of the Bianchi team, and other riders high in the standings had waited for him after the crash and whether he would have done the same.
"I did know that," he rep