Armstrong lauds the Pain Merchants

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"From the Procycling news 7/17/2004 -- Regarding Stage 12 TDF

Admitting that he went through a bad moment of his own on the soaking descent of the Aspin and eased off slightly, Armstrong then paid tribute to his team. “The key to the stage came halfway up to La Mongie. My team, far from maintaining the pace, actually upped it and my rivals could not follow, a situation we took advantage of in order to make them suffer a bit more. Without doubt my team-mates performed sensationally on the climb, especially Azevedo,” Armstrong explained.

The wet conditions of the first week and unrelenting pace throughout is beginning to take its toll on some Armstrong’s potential rivals. After many of them struggled at La Mongie yesterday, the early part of Saturday’s stage to Plateau de Beille saw first Haimar Zubeldia and then Denis Menchov abandon the race with knee trouble. Menchov’s loss is particularly hard on his Illes Balears team because he finished seventh at La Mongie and his partnership with Paco Mancebo was looking one of the few threats to Armstrong."

Anonymous's picture
JP (not verified)

Simply awesome - Lance and Big Blue. Awesome.

Shhhhh ... go jan ...

Anonymous's picture
Chris T (not verified)
US Postal, The Ringwraiths, the Nine Riders of Mordor

U.S postal made extra deliveries of pain to everyone in the race today. Well not everyone. Ex-Postie I'll-sign-for-the-big-money, Lead a team from my home country (Espana') and challenge Lance in the TDF Roberto Heras Hernandez said NO MAS and did not start the stage. Smart move.

They started dropping off on the first climb, the Col du Glandon. At the top of the Hors Categorie Col du Madeleine, Postal had all 8 of its Pain Merchants and the Maillot Jaune. Sauron's Nine Riders are still together at the Col de Tamie. At the summit of the Category 1 Col de Forclaz, well there is just Armstrong, Hincapie, Landis, Rubiera, and Acevedo to go with 20 other riders. Any breakaway riders scooped up are shot out the back like goose splot.

On the last climb, one by one, the pain causes Aldag, Totschnig, Voeckler, Mancebo, Karpets, Casar, Merckx to fall off. Even Hincapie and Rubiera are spent. Sastre goes off the front, he passes Simoni, Moreau, Virenque holds on for a few turns, falls off. All three pass through the remnents of the front. Leiphiemer falls off, so does Acevedo.
It's Armstrong, Basso, Kloden, Ullrich who catch Sastre, but who is leading the charge up the Col de la Croix-Fry, but FLOYD LANDIS?? At the top, he gets the go ahead from Armstrong to go FOR THE STAGE WIN!!.

Landis gets caught, makes an attack with 1.5 km to go, but the fact that he was in the mix for the stage win is remarkable. I would love to see George Hincapie win a stage, but a Landis win would have been tremendous.

Oh, and the last time somebody won three mountain stages in a row like Lance has done...was 1948 when Gino Bartali did it. Thank you Phil Liggett, I guess you were there.

Voeckler is still hanging onto the Maillot Blanc by 45 seconds. Hope he can hold it through to Paris.

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