12 July 2005

The Battle of Courchevel...

AWESOME! This is a day that will be long held in the moemories of the sport. Lance and Team Discovery attacked and there was very little anyone could do about it. He is well and truely going out "on top!"


Armstrong Takes Control of Tour
Lance Armstrong reclaimed the Tour de France leader's yellow jersey after stage 10 from Grenoble to Courchevel.

The first of the Tour's mountain stages was won by Alejandro Valverde, who just pipped Armstong after a gruelling category one climb to the finish.

After looking vulnerable in the first week, Armstrong's Discovery team were at their best in the Alps, setting a relentless pace on the final climb.

Armstrong left main rivals Jan Ullrich and Alexandre Vinokourov far behind.

The six-time Tour winner leads the overall standings by 38 seconds from Dane Michael Rasmussen with Ullrich now over four minutes adrift.

But Armstrong downplayed his advantage saying: "We're in a good position as compared to some of the main rivals - but there's still a lot of racing to go.

"We have another day in the Alps, a transition stage then two very tough days in the Pyrenees, then the final time trial."

Jens Voigt, who started the day in yellow, also dropped a long way down the standings.

Armstrong took over the lead in Tuesday's stage after the last of his team-mates dropped off the pace 10km from the finish.

By the end, just four riders were left to battle it out - Armstrong, Valverde, King of the Mountains leader Rasmussen and Francisco Mancebo.

Armstrong launched a decisive attack in the final kilometre with only Valverde able to respond and the Spaniard then moved through to cross the line first.

Armstrong, riding his last Tour, admitted he was surprised not to have won the stage.

"I was hoping for the stage win, but I think today we may have seen the future of cycling," he said. "Alejandro's strong, intelligent and he's fast. Very impressive."

Stage results (Top 10)
1. Alejandro Valverde (Sp) Illes Balears 4hrs 50mins 35secs
2. Lance Armstrong (US) Discovery same time
3. Michael Rasmussen (Den) Rabobank +9s
4. Francisco Mancebo (Sp) Illes Balears same time
5. Ivan Basso (It) Team CSC +1:02
6. Levi Leipheimer (US) Gerolsteiner +1:15
7. Eddy Mazzoleni (It) Lampre-Caffita +2:14
8. Cadel Evans (Aus) Davitamon-Lotto same time
9. Andreas Kloden (Ger) T-Mobile same time
10. Andrey Kashechkin (Kaz) Credit Agricole same time

Overall standings (Top 10)
1. Lance Armstrong (US) Discovery 37:11:04"
2. Michael Rasmussen (Den) Rabobank +38s
3. Ivan Basso (It) Team CSC +2:40
4. Christophe Moreau (Fr) Credit Agricole +2:42
5. Alejandro Valverde (Sp) Illes Balears +3:16
6. Levi Leipheimer (US) Gerolsteiner +3:58
7. Francisco Mancebo (Sp) Illes Balears +4:00
8. Jan Ullrich (Ger) T-Mobile +4:02
9. Andreas Kloden (Ger) T-Mobile +4:16
10. Floyd Landis (US) Phonak same time

Story from BBC SPORT:

Published: 2005/07/12 15:43:59 GMT



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