Saturday, July 02, 2005

Stage 1: Fromentine > Noirmoutier en l’ile

Wow--the Tour is off to an exciting start!

I had some doubt yesterday about whether Lance's head was in the race enough for a seventh win; today went a long way to convincing me (although Mr. Raven never agreed with my analysis anyway; he says it's not the way athletes think. Since I only follow sports once a year, and he does year-round, he may just be right.).

Despite slipping out of his right clip on setting out (at least it was on the upstroke, not the downstroke, where it could have been much worse because of the force applied), Lance caught, then passed, his rival Jan Ullrich, and came within 2 seconds of winning the stage, which finally went to David Zabriskie. Until he came in after Zabriskie, there was some talk of his being the first rider to dominate every stage since 1934, but I'm actually relieved that that's not the case--it would have been a distraction, when Lance needs to concentrate on the mountain game ahead.

Today he was primed--making good time, yet not looking like he was straining as he climbed the bridge at the beginning of the route,

while Jan Ullrich was working hard. Lance just kept going, until he overtook him, and continued to gain time while leaving Ullrich in his tracks. In fairness, Ullrich did have a crash yesterday while reconnoitering the route, a fact which Lance acknowledged in the post-stage interview, and which probably affected Ullrich's performance. Still, Lance often holds back until the mountain stages--for him to come on so strong in the preliminary stages, where his rivals are looking to gain capital, has got to be a psychological edge.

Results after Stage 1:

1. ZABRISKIE (USA, CSC), 20’51’’
2. ARMSTRONG (USA, DSC), 2 seconds later
3. VINOKOUROV (KAZ, TMO), 53 seconds later
4. HINCAPIE (USA, DSC), 56 seconds later
5. BODROGI (HUN, C.A), 59 seconds later

At the end of the first stage, the jerseys are:

  • yellow (highest overall standings): David Zabriskie
  • green (highest point standings): David Zabriskie, worn by Lance Armstrong
  • white (highest in young rider standings): Fabian Cancellara

This was an easy (relatively!) day: 19 km. Tomorrow, Stage 2: Challans > Les Essarts, will be a more grueling 181.5 km.


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