Every Tour de France has a single defining moment, where a single rider stamps his authority on the race as the other competitors fall by the wayside. In 1999, Lance Armstrong powered home to win in Sestrieres and the following year he did the same at Hautacam, as Pantani’s challenge fell to pieces. This year, Armstrong struck a blow at his rivals on the first mountain stage of this year’s Tour de France, as the race finished on the Alpe d’Huez for the 22nd time. The Texan decimated the field with a blistering show of force and strength on the ascent to Alpe D’Huez. Ullrich, Beloki and Moreau were left floundering as the American shot up the road in pursuit of Laurent Roux, who had been away for nearly 200kms.
The early part of the stage had been brightened up by the sight of Laurent Roux, Jimenez, and Tauler breaking away in the first ten kilometres. The three-some pushed ahead to build up a lead of over ten minutes. However with three cols before the finish it was unlikey that they were going to spoil the favourite’s day.
Team Telekom had been setting a ferocious pace during the stage and as Armstrong’s teammates dropped off the back, people began to wonder if the US Postal team leader was to follow. However Armstrong sent Rubiera to the front to speed things up and once the pace was suitable for the Texan he dashed past the leaders. Although Ullrich was able to follow the first attack, he was left to chase alone once the second one came, churning a huge gear as the winner of the last two Tours, danced up the mountain and parted the sea of spectators, to win the stage by nearly two minutes.
Ullrich is now over two minutes down on Armstrong and has it all to do in the mountain time trial tomorrow.
Frenchman Francois Simon, managed to cling to the leaders and claimed the yellow jersey from Stuart O’Grady, who despite losing huge time, is still in the top ten overall.
Stage 10,Aix-less-Bains- Alpe d’Huez 209km
|1st||Lance Armstrong (US, US Postal)||6h’23m’47sec|
|2nd||Jan Ullrich (Ger, Telekom)||at 1m’59secs|
|3rd||Joesba Beloki (Esp, ONCE)||at 2m’9sec|
|4th||Christophe Moreau (Fra, Festina)||at 2m’30secs|
|5th||Oscar Seville (Esp, Kelme)||at 2m’54sec|
|6th||Francisco Manecbo (Esp, ibanesto.com)||at 4m’1sec|
|7th||Laurent Roux||at 4m’3sec|
|8th||Igor Galdeano (Esp, ONCE)||at s.t|
|9th||Roberto Laiseka (Esp, Eus)||at s.t|
|10th||Leonardo Piepoli||at 4m’7sec|
|1st||Francois Simon (France, Bonjour||45’h34m’9sec|
|2nd||Andrei Kivilev (Kaz, Cofidis)||at 11m’54sec|
|3rd||Stuart O’Grady (Aus, C.A||at 18m’10sec|
|4th||Lance Armstrong (US, USPS)||at 20m’7sec|
|5th||Joseba Beloki (Esp, ONCE)||at 21m’42sec|
|6th||Christophe Moreau (Fra, Festina)||at 22m’21sec|
|7th||Jan Ullrich (Ger, Telekom)||at 22m’41sec|
|8th||Igor Galdeano (Esp, ONCE)||at 23m’34sec|
|9th||Oscar Seville (Esp, Kelme)||at 24m’7sec|
|10th||Santiago Botero (Col, Kelme)||at 25m’52sec|