Even with David Duffield’s commentary to endure, there was no way we were going to miss this one, so it was laptop in front of Eurosport on the TV to watch the crucial Alpe D’Huez stage of the Tour De France.
With Jan Ullrich’s Team Telekom boys looking pretty in pink pursuit of an early 3 man breakaway, Armstrong stayed hidden in the lead group all day. He even did his best “Oooh i’m real sufferin’ me” impression on the first two ‘hors categorie’ climbs as the rest of his team fell out of the lead group backwards, leavig him to fetch his own bottles from the team car.
Then without warning his one remaining US postal team rider attacked past Telekom, taking Ullrich, Armstrong and a Cofidis rider we can’t remember (sorry) up the road. Next, Armstrong comes to the front takes a good, long hard look right at Ullrich who’s sat on his wheel and then just drops the hammer. Within a couple of kilometres he and his Trek and his new Action Man haircut are nearly a minute and a half up the road and still accelerating.
To his credit, Ullrich rallied and managed to limit his ginger losses to two minutes at the summit finish, passing Didier Roux (who’d been out front most of the race but was ultimately doomed to failure by his dreadful bleached highlights). Armstrong isn’t in yellow yet, but he has definitely stamped his authority on this race, and looks ready to dominate tommorrow’s mountain time trial.
Daniel will be here with a full and proper race report later, but after watching that I’m going to have to go and ride my bike up something quite steep shouting “GO LANCE” very loudly at bemused dog walkers.