Lance’s 21st Stage Victory After 21 Turns
The cauldron of 21 hairpin turns from Bourg-d’Oisans to L’Alpe d’Huez was yet again transformed into the biggest sporting arena in the world. With police estimates of over a million spectators, it’s easy to understand why a rider like Lance Armstrong had more to think about than just turning over his pedals. There was a lot for the Texan to consider. Above there was one thing at the forefront of Lance’s mind. “Today I was focussed on getting to the finish safely,” said the five-time Tour champion. This was in response to a question about being the first rider to score six overall victories. Does he think about that during the race? “I try not to” And, really, how could he?
The fans which lined the route gave Lance barely enough room to breathe in the first five kilometers. The crowd control barricades did not line the entire 15.5km stage. This offered admirers a chance to get close to their hero and critics an opportunity to try and baulk the man who eventually triumphed. Armstrong was the only rider who finished this epic time trial in under 40 minutes. The winning time was over a minute ahead of the five-time runner-up, Jan Ullrich. And, at the end of the day, none of the distractions made a dent on Lance’s resolve.
Ullrich admits: “Lance appears to be unbeatable this year.”