Saturday, July 16, 2005


TdF Stage 14: Lead What Cost?

AUSTRIAN ESCAPES TO WIN. Of 15 escapees, Austrian Georg Totschnig was the only survivor at the end of a day-long breakaway that took the world's leading cyclists up two of the Pyrenees' toughest climbs. Totschnig, 34 years old and riding for the German-based Gerolsteiner team, finished nearly a minute ahead of a hard-charging Lance Armstrong, Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich and a very select group trying to stay in time-touch with Armstrong.

LANCE BETTERS T-MOBILE'S ATTACKS. The pace the T-Mobile team set on the lower slopes of Port de Pailheres was blistering. It left the Discovery Channel boys behind and Lance was fending for himself...again. Lance matched Ullrich, Vinokourov, and Kloden for a while. Then he kicked into high gear, shedding Vino and Kloden, and, in the final kilometer, Ullrich. Again, it was only the Italian Basso who stayed with Lance to the Pyrenees peak Ax-3 Domaines.

EXHAUSTED...AND FACING THE TOUGHEST STAGE TOMORROW. Armstrong looked and sounded exhausted after today's game of wits and will played out on the steepest climbs of the tour thus far. The only problem is, the riders are facing the most difficult stage of the Tour de France on Sunday. Stage 15 is the penultimate stage, with four Cat 1 climbs before a beyond category finish. Attrition on Sunday may be severe. Armstrong ended today with a larger lead over all his rivals. But one bad climb, one lapse, one bonk...and the 2-5 minute lead he has over the likes of Basso, Leipheimer, Landis, and Ullrich will evaporate...quickly.

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