Tuesday, July 05, 2005


TdF Stage 4


TWO SECONDS. It took a crash within the final 1,200 meters of the stage by Tour de France leader American David Zabriskie to slow down the lightening-fast CSC team just enough to hand the Team Time Trial victory to Discovery Channel. The margin of victory for Lance Armstrong's team? Two seconds. Now I begin to understand the importance of the title of his book with Sally Jenkins: Every Second Counts.

HEADED TOWARD VICTORY, BUT... Do you get this? The Yellow Jersey wearer is leading his team to the best time at every time check along the 67.5 kilometer course. CSC and Zabriskie are 2 seconds better than Discovery Channel at the last time check. They're on course to win the stage...and if they win the stage, Zabriskie keeps and extends his lead over Armstrong. It's just a matter of time...

JUST A BOBBLE. But then Zabriskie--incredibly, unbelievably--clips a barricade and crashes almost within sight of the finish line. The CSC team doesn't stop; they pedal on, leaving Zabriskie behind. They merely bobble...but that bobble costs them the stage win and Zabriskie the Yellow Jersey.

DISCOVERY ESCAPES WITH THE STAGE WIN. Discovery Channel can be said to have "escaped" with the stage win. CSC yielded it to them. But a win is a win. And with the win, the Discovery Channel team has set the fastest average speed for a team time trial in Tour de France history. The nine riders finished the 67.5km course in one hour, 10 minutes and 39 seconds. Their average speed was 57.31km/h.

ARMSTRONG IN YELLOW. The win also gives Armstrong the overall lead in the Tour de France. He likes yellow. Tomorrow will be the 67th day he has worn this color--the color of cycling leadership--in the race. Only three Americans have worn the Maillot Jaune: Armstrong, three-time winner Greg LeMond...and David Zabriskie.

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