Armstrong Dominates Stage 19 of Tour
Lance Armstrong (U.S. Postal Service) has put an exclamation point on the Tour de France.
Lance Armstrong (U.S. Postal Service) has put an exclamation point on the Tour de France. The man from Austin, who is bidding to become the first six-time Tour winner, dominated the race?s final test, a rolling, twisting, 55-km time trial in and around Besancon. Armstrong won the event in 1:06:49. He was 1:01 faster than Jan Ullrich (T-Mobile) and 1:27 faster than Andreas Kloden (T-Mobile). The Texan leads the Tour by more than six minutes.
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Christophe Edaleine (Cofidis) was the day?s first leader, but his 1:15:55 was obviously soft. Erik Dekker (Rabobank) demonstrated as much by smashing Edaleine?s time with a 1:13:38. Uwe Peschel (Gerolsteiner) bettered the Dutchman?s mark by 0:25, only to see Marc Wauters (Rabobank) post a 1:13:13.
More fireworks followed. Vyatcheslav Ekimov (U.S. Postal Service) crushed Wauters?s time with a 1:11:43, but Bobby Julich (CSC) shattered the Olympic champion?s mark with a 1:09:37. Floyd Landis (U.S. Postal Service) bettered Julich?s time with a 1:09:14.
The heavy hitters then made their marks. Ullrich shattered Julich?s mark with a 1:07:50. Kloden could not overtake Ullrich, but he posted a 1:08:16, which relegated Ivan Basso (CSC) to third place overall. Armstrong, however, humbled everyone. He led at every checkpoint and expanded his lead at every checkpoint en route to a victory that further confirmed that Lance Armstrong is the strongest rider in this year?s Tour and the best Tour rider of his era. Ullrich and Kloden could say only that that they were the best of the rest.
In the overall, Armstrong leads Kloden by 6:38 and Basso by 6:59. Tomorrow?s 20 th and final stage will be a procession for Armstrong, but there will still be one thing to fight for. The points competition will be decided on the Champs Elysees. Robbie McEwen (Lotto) leads Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole) by 11 points and Erik Zabel (T-Mobile) by 15. Who will take the green jersey? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!
Click here to view our stage 19 photo show.
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