Excellent photo of Lance Armstrong racing around Lac d’Annecy today by Harold de Haan. Click on the photo to view his flickr page.
Here’s the photographer’s note on the photo:
Lance Armstrong on the Yoshitomo Nara Speed Concept Time trial bike during Stage 18 of the 2009 Tour de France.
UPDATE ON TIME TRIAL RESULTS:
1. CONTADOR Alberto 21 ASTANA 48′ 30″
2. CANCELLARA Fabian 33 TEAM SAXO BANK 48′ 33″ + 00′ 03″
6. WIGGINS Bradley 58 GARMIN – SLIPSTREAM 49′ 13″ + 00′ 43″
9. KLÖDEN Andréas 23 ASTANA 49′ 24″ + 00′ 54″
16. ARMSTRONG Lance 22 ASTANA 50′ 00″ + 01′ 30″
21. SCHLECK Andy 31 TEAM SAXO BANK 50′ 15″ + 01′ 45″
35. SCHLECK Frank 36 TEAM SAXO BANK 51′ 04″ + 02′ 34″
43. HESJEDAL Ryder 54 GARMIN – SLIPSTREAM 51′ 21″ + 02′ 51″
OVERALL STANDINGS ON TIME
1.CONTADOR 73h 15′ 39″
2.SCHLECK A. 04′ 11″
3.ARMSTRONG 05′ 25″
4.WIGGINS 05′ 36″
5.KLÖDEN 05′ 38″
6.SCHLECK F. 05′ 59″
7.NIBALI 07′ 15″
55.HESJEDAL Ryder + 1h 06′ 37″
Lance Armstrong on Twitter: “Interesting note – top 20 in this TdF separated by only 6 mins. Extremely rare with just 6 days to go. Tactically very risky 4 us.”
That was pre-stage 16 of course. After the St. Bernard, the top 20 is separated by 20 minutes. The top 10 is still separated by only four minutes.
Stage 15 of the Tour de France of Ski, Verbier
Stage 14 of the Tour de France finally brought a minor shake-up to the Rinaldo Nocentini-Alberto Contador-Lance Armstrong trifecta that has been frozen in the top three positions for nearly a week now. Enter American George Hincapie. Hincapie, a former teammeate of Armstrong, was part of a small breakway group that finished just beind stage 14 winner Serguei Ivanov of Russia. Five seconds faster and Hincapie would have wrestled the yellow jersey away from Rinaldo Nocentini of Italy. For the time being, Hincapie will have to settle for second place, five seconds off the lead. Alberto Contador remains six seconds back, and Lance Amstrong, now in fourth place, is still just eight seconds off the lead.
It’s all about to get very interesting as the tour enters the Alps, stage 15 winding from Pontarlier to Verbier.
Tour de France of Ski: Stage 15, Verbier
Discussion and debate over the world’s greatest ski resort will always involve Verbier. On piste, off piste, day life, night life, Verbier has no weakness. And we haven’t begun to talk about the blueberry pancakes at the Offshore coffee bar.
It’s articles like this that make the Tour de France the most interesting sporting event in the world. No other event tracks through such varied and spectacular terrain and has so many different competitive elements to it. I started out wanting to give some coverage to Ryder Hesjedal, and the tour has now seduced me completely.
Lance Armstrong & the Tour de France of Ski: Stage 7, Ordino-Arcalis
After spending the first six stages rolling through relatively flat ocean-scapes, it’s time for the real men of the Tour de France to step forward. Those big things in front of the sprinters of the 2009 Tour de France are the Pyrenees. It’s the first mountain stage, and the first real clue if this entire Lance Armstong business is fo’ real.
Armstong remains a fraction of a second off leader Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland. However, Mr. Cancellara is about to become a footnote in the 96th Tour de France. It’s mountain time. Carlos Astre, the 2008 champ, Alberto Contador, the pre-race favorite, these are the guys who are about to take over. Men are made in the mountains. We all know this, we ski!
As we watch Lance Armstrong go for his 8th Tour de France win, we’re checking the great ski areas along the route. Friday we hit our first spot.
Tour de France of Ski: Stage 7, Ordino-Arcalis
Barcelona, Spain to Arcalis, Andorra. The seventh stage of the Tour de France ends in Arcalis, Andorra. At Ordino-Arcalis, (pictured above) thirteen modern lifts — minus the modern lift lines — service 2,231 feet of vertical. Rarely will you see a lift cue at Andorra’s most challenging ski area. Ordino-Arcalis is the preferred spot for locals on the weekend, while other Andorran resorts cater heavily to British and Irish tourists.
The heli-skiing in the Pyrenees of Arcalis is immensely popular. Definitely pack your skins, as off-piste skiing in and around Arcalis is absolutely ruling after a sizable dump.
The people of Andorra, the small land-locked nation sandwiched between Spain and France, are blessed with the highest life expectancy in the world, averaging 85 years. Extrapolating an answer? Skiing makes people happier, and happier people live longer.
Lance Armstrong on Stage 6:
“There are not many days when I have regretted my decision,” he said. “But maybe that was one of them.
“Maybe I’m being facetious, but it wasn’t a lot of fun. There were dangerous downhills and some crashes. The only way to describe days like today is scary.”
Looks like Ryder Hesjedal got involved in a couple of mishaps today, dropping from 21st overall to 25th. I hope he’s ready and fit for the first mountain stage tomorrow …
The Tour’s early entrance into the mountains will be sudden, with a Level 1 mountain pass and one of the highest finishes in its history, at 2,200m elevation. And yet this will not be the time for great manœuvres. The fact that difficulties will be spread out throughout the race, as well as the length of the first Pyrenees stage, should enable a bold, sturdy climber who breaks away from the pack early to seize his chance at Arcalis.
Team Garmin-Slipstream – Tour de France 2009, stage 4, originally uploaded by Garmin Slipstream Pro Cycling Team
Hesjedal gains ground at Tour de France
Published: July 07, 2009 10:00 AM
Victoria’s Ryder Hesjedal made a dramatic move in the team time-trial, stage four of the 2009 Tour de France standings on Tuesday.
Hesjedal, a former mountain biker and the only Canadian in this year’s Tour de France, climbed from 49th to 21st in the short, 39 kilometre race around Montpellier. He now sits one minute, 46 seconds back of Swiss leader Fabian Cancellara of team Saxo Bank.
Hesjedal’s team Garmin-Slipstream is fourth overall after 438 kilometres, three minutes and five seconds back of Lance Armstrong’s team Astana.
Wednesday’s stage five sees a return to long distance racing as the tour steers 196.5 km south from Le Cap D’Agde to Perpignan.
… and you know who everyone will be focused on for the next three weeks.
A picture taken on July 4, 2009 in Monaco shows frontpages of French and Italian newspapers announcing the start of the 2009 Tour de France. The Tour, which starts today, will cover 21 stages (10 flat stages, 8 mountains, 2 individual time-trials as well as one team time trial) before it ends 3.500 km later in Paris on July 26.
Photo: NATHALIE MAGNIEZ/AFP/Getty Images
Hesjedal makes inroads at Tour de France
BY CLEVE DHEENSAW, CANWEST
JULY 4, 2009
VICTORIA — Churning past the famous casino of Monaco on Saturday, Ryder Hesjedal of Victoria placed a respectable 44th among the 180 cyclists who began the first leg of the 2009 Tour de France.
“Today was pretty spectacular to say the least. The course was amazing and lined with screaming fans from start to finish,” said the two-time Olympian, when contacted after the first-stage individual time trial.
“Powering by the prestigious landmarks was very motivating and something I will never forget. It was great to start this Tour in an individual test against the clock. I felt great on the bike and think I could have gone a little faster with a few changes. But in the big picture, I’m happy with my performance and definitely feeling good about the rest of the race to come.”
Hesjedal completed the 15.5-kilometre time trial in 20 minutes, 59 seconds, which was a minute and 27 seconds behind stage winner Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland and his 19:32 clocking.
American legend Lance Armstrong, whose return to the Tour has created a buzz and is being closely watched, finished 10th and was 40 seconds behind Cancellara.
Hesjedal became the first Canadian in the Tour de France in more than 10 years in 2008, only the fourth Canuck rider in Tour history, and continues to build his position on the Garmin Slipstream team.
Skipping Giro was right call for Hesjedal
By Andrew Hood
Published: Jul. 5, 2009
Ryder Hesjedal on Sunday.
Photo: Andrew Hood
The road back to his second Tour de France was different for Ryder Hesjedal this year.
While most of his Tour-bound teammates followed the successful blueprint from 2008 and raced the Giro d’Italia in May, Garmin-Slipstream brass put the brakes on the tall Canadian and told him to rest instead of race.
“Not racing the Giro was definitely the right call. I feel like I’ve improved since I took a break and I am coming into the Tour in my best level ever,” Hesjedal told VeloNews. “I came out of the Tour de Suisse in good condition and I am getting better every day. I’m going to be in top shape and be there when the team needs me.”