Stage 12 - Armstrong makes his move


It has begun.

The mountains have arrived and the fun and games are over. No more cozy days sitting in the draft of the peloton. If you want a nice place on GC now, you致e got to start paying for it in blood. And that痴 what happened on the slopes of the Tourmalet this afternoon as Ivan Basso takes a (gifted?) win just in front of Lance with a stunning climb.

There was the regular jaunt off the front by a couple of relative unknowns early in the race, but once the peloton hit the bottom of the Col d但spin, the wattage output to the pedals started to increase, and by the time the contenders were halfway up the Col du Tourmalet, it was redlining. The Postal boys began slowly burning the legs off the mere mortals, ending with Hincapie, then Landis, than Chechu and Azevedo (I believe) to propel Lance to the final few Ks. By then Carlos Sastre had launched a not insignificant attack. But it was only a few minutes later before Lance had bridged with Ivan Basso on his tail. At the line, it appeared Lance chose not to contest the win, letting Basso slip by. We could see Lance trying to say something to him in the final Ks, having a chat. The report later was that Lance 'let' Basso win because Basso's mother is suffering from cancer and Lance, as a long'time friend, has been helping her get the right treatment. So Lance said he felt it was the right thing to do to let him have the victory in light of his situation.

It wasn稚 a surprise to see Lance make sure to be in the top few today. What no one expected was how quickly Ullrich and Hamilton would get shot out of the back. They finished 2:30 and 3:30 back, respectively. Even Ventoux champ Iban Mayo finished a minute down. And Roberto Heras was a few minutes out as well. So if today is any indication, Lance won稚 be getting much more of a challenge in the mountains. But this is only one day, and we can assume everyone will have their ups and downs. One can稚 help but feel for Tyler, having had to put his dog to sleep the other day. Surely, he値l rebound soon.

For now, Lance has moved up to 2nd in the GC and will perhaps leap ahead tomorrow if he can win at Plateau de Beille.

A longer report tomorrow.

Ps If you think the OLN coverage is good, you should see Eurosport. Covers the whole stage. Interview cams in the team vans. Hanging with the stage winners at night at celebration dinners. And the best-they actually have satelite heartrate monitor connection with a few of the riders. Yesterdaz one of them was Benjamin Noval. His was at a steady 170 out of a max 200 on the col d'Aspin. So much more info for us freaks...


Didja catch him yet? Or are you just drinking wine and eating cheese?

the oln video coverage is lacking. i can't get the quicktime samples to load.

i wish i had oln.


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