Published

Containment and conservation were the names of the game today for Lance Armstrong, as he rode within himself and marshaled his teammates to another successful day in the Alps. True, Alexandre Vinokourov won the stage but he has quite a way to go to erase the entire 6:32 deficit he had at the beginning of Stage 11.

Sometimes opportunities present themselves where you least expect them to. Lance Armstrong and the Discovery Channel team expected Stage 10 of the Tour de France to be hard, but not decisive. However, when that lead group started to splinter, Lance seized the opportunity and gained more than a minute over his chief rivals.

A rest day at the Tour de France provides a brief opportunity to catch your breath, but the riders and the team staffs really only experience a modest reduction in activity. There is still food to be prepared, three hours spent on the bikes, massages, laundry, and a long list…

The yellow jersey is a hard garment to let go of, but sometimes it is best to let someone else carry it for a while. Lance Armstrong handed the yellow jersey to Jens Voigt (CSC) this afternoon after the German spent most of the day riding a few minutes behind…

Over the past six years, one of Lance Armstrong's greatest assets has been the collective strength of his team. About half way up the first substantial climb of the 2005 Tour de France, the Discovery Channel team struggled to support their leader, leaving him isolated to fight off attacks from rival teams all by himself.

You can always tell when the Tour de France nears the German border. The number of fans lining the roads, and the amount of noise they generate, increases with every kilometer. Once you actually cross the border, it’s complete pandemonium at the roadside. Fortunately, the German fans were treated to…

There are no rain delays in bike racing. This isn’t baseball, golf, or NASCAR. In cycling, you have to be prepared to race in all kinds of weather conditions, and accept all of the associated risks. You also have to be willing to take certain risks, like the ones Alexandre…

Respect is the cornerstone of professional cycling, and it was out of respect to Dave Zabriskie that Lance Armstrong initially refused to wear the yellow jersey at the start of Stage 5. Although Lance eventually relented to the demands of the race organization and donned the jersey, the peloton and…

Think about what two seconds means over a distance of 42 miles. It’s a tap of the brakes in one corner, a moment’s hesitation, one missed shift, or the difference between riding in the middle of the road and hugging the curb going around a bend. It’s nothing, and yet…

The Tour de France has something for everyone. There are competitions for the best sprinter, climber, young rider, and of course, overall leader. It’s the sprinters who get most of the glory in the first week, as evidenced by today’s high-speed battle on the streets of Tours. Tom Boonen (Quick-Step)…

It’s good to have the first road stage of the Tour de France in the bag. These opening days are always chaotic, and the risk of crashing is much greater than the chance of seizing an opportunity to gain time. For Lance Armstrong and the other primary yellow jersey contenders,…

The first stage of the 2005 Tour de France could not have gone any better. Lance Armstrong has always liked to use the opening time trial to send a message to his rivals, and there was no mistaking the message this year. He’s strong, possibly stronger than he’s ever been,…

AS LANCE’S FIVE-HOUR training ride stretches into six and a half, I start getting itchy. I’ve been following in a car, handing up food, drinks, and clothes; it’s for a good cause, but I want to get some exercise, too. It’s nearing sunset as we finish, and I have 45…

With all but one of the jersey competitions already decided, Stage 20 proceeded as the customary ceremonial procession to Paris this afternoon. The U.S. Postal Service led Lance Armstrong and rest of the peloton onto the Champs Élysées, and then turned the sprinters loose to fight for the honor of…

The final individual time trial of the Tour de France is always an exciting day. The men who excelled in the mountains risk losing positions to men who are better against the clock. The overall contenders sometimes have their last chance to challenge for the yellow jersey as well, but…

Time trials are never easy, and they only get worse as they get longer. At 55 kilometers, winning tomorrow’s Stage 19 individual time trial will require about 61-65 minutes of intense effort. At the other end of the spectrum, some very exhausted riders may be at risk of missing the…

Gifts are for birthdays and anniversaries, not bike races. This was the sentiment expressed by five-time Tour de France champion Bernard Hinault as Lance Armstrong walked to the podium Thursday after winning his third stage in as many days. The issue of “giving” stage victories to other riders has…

The longer you prepare for an event, the sweeter it is to succeed when the time finally comes. Lance Armstrong has been preparing for the Alpe d’Huez individual time trial ever since he learned it was included in the 2004 Tour de France route. This afternoon’s performance in Stage 16…

I hate to tell you, “I told you so,” but it came as little surprise that Jan Ullrich found his legs during the rest day and had the power and motivation to attack Lance Armstrong during Stage 15. Besides Armstrong, Ullrich is the only other man in…

The Pyrenees did a lot of damage to the Tour de France peloton and to several riders’ chances of challenging for the yellow jersey. Nevertheless, there are still a lot of very strong men left in the race, and the next major challenge before them is the Stage 16 individual…

With two weeks of hard racing in their legs already, most of the riders in the 2004 Tour de France were content to take it relatively easy today. To help further reduce the work they had to do during Stage 14, riders chose different equipment than they used yesterday in…

Stage 13 proved to be a very hard day in the saddle, and several riders found it too difficult to finish. Denis Menchov, winner of the Best Young Rider competition last year, withdrew from the race with knee pain. Haimar Zubeldia, half of the Spanish duo that caused Armstrong so…

The Tour de France offered up a few surprises during Stage 12, during which we saw the emergence of some new potential challengers for the yellow jersey, and some signs of weakness that may cost a few pre-race favorites their chance to win the Tour this year. Italian Ivan…

While it’s still cold and gray in northern France, the sun is shining brightly as the Tour reaches the foothills of the Pyrenees. The rising temperatures will increase the difficulty of the next two stages and may have a significant impact on the outcome of the entire Tour. Temperatures…

With five USPS teammates present in the lead peloton at the end of today’s Stage 10, Postal was one of only three teams to have six total riders at the front of the race. A strong team is going to be an important key to winning the 2004 Tour, and…

The stage following a rest day in the Tour de France can be a very difficult day in the saddle for some riders. Try as they might to keep their minds and bodies in the rhythm of the race, the rest day disrupts riders’ routines just enough to leave them…

The first week of the 2004 Tour de France was difficult and nervous, and by the time the peloton crossed the finish line yesterday, most of the riders were exhausted. Tom Boonen put it nicely when he told a journalist, “Everyone sits like a corpse on the bike.” It’s difficult…

In 2003, the heat caused problems for many riders at the Tour de France. In 2004, it’s the cold and rain that has everyone wishing for a change in the weather. The forecast calls for cool and possibly rainy conditions for another few days, but as the Tour heads south…

There’s a reason riders and team directors pore over stage profiles prior to each day of racing. It’s the same reason Lance Armstrong previews portions of the Tour de France route months in advance: the better you know the course, the more you can exploit its features for your benefit.

Unfortunately, the demand for bandages has been high over the first seven days of racing at the Tour de France. There has been at least one crash every day of the Tour, though many are never seen on television coverage. This year it seems there have been more falls than…

With more than two weeks remaining in the 2004 Tour de France, and knowing how difficult the final week will be, the US Postal Service was more than willing to let a five-man breakaway escape today and take the stage as well as the yellow jersey. While it might…

The team time trial is a tremendously difficult and technical event, and winning one takes a lot of horsepower, a good plan, and discipline. U.S. Postal Service wanted to win the Stage 4 team time trial of the Tour de France for a few reasons. Most importantly, they wanted…

It doesn’t take long for a brilliant Tour de France to take a turn for the worse, as Euskaltel-Euskadi leader Iban Mayo learned this afternoon in Stage 3. His high hopes of challenging for the yellow jersey were seriously damaged after he was involved in a crash immediately prior to…

Thor Hushovd learned a lot from the top-ten sprint finishes he recorded during the 2003 Tour de France; he learned so much that this year he’s finished in the top three positions during the first two road stages, and taken the yellow jersey for his efforts. Things are going his…

It was heartbreaking to see the breakaway of Jakob Piil and Mark Wauters swallowed up so close to the finish line, right? Were you sitting on the edge of your seat wondering how the peloton timed their surge so perfectly? If you’re relatively new to the Tour de France, I…

Now that’s what I wanted to see: Lance Armstrong powering out of the start house to the roar of the crowd, and then returning less than seven minutes later to a top-three finish in the prologue. His preparations for the Tour were nearly flawless, and his performance this afternoon showed…

The conditions change for many major sporting competitions each year, but very few events get the kind of radical yearly makeover the Tour de France gets. The weather might be different from year to year in Kona, Hawaii, but the Ironman Triathlon route has barely changed in twenty years. Marathons…

Are you fit enough to blow through three weeks of hundred-mile race stages? Funny, neither are we. But with a whole lot of practice and some help from Chris Carmichael and the Outside Training Center, perhaps we too could tackle le Tour.Are you fit enough to blow through three weeks…

Page 2