Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Stage 10, Completed

Wow.

The things a mountain or two can do to the Tour de France. Armstrong came in second, reclaiming the yellow jersey. Ivan Basso, Andres Kloden, Jan Ullrich, and Floyd Landis all finished anywhere from one to two minutes back, but within the Top 15. Alexandre Vinokourov finished 24th, but his 5 minute deficit dropped him out of the Top 10, where he had been since Stage 1. Iban Mayo, thought to be one of the sport's best climbers, finished nowhere near the front -- in fact, he finished somewhere near the back. The pack has really started to splinter, and it is apparent that the sprinters that ruled the roost during the first week are not similarly able to do so in the mountains.

This looks like a whole other race. The question remains: Can Armstrong keep up the frenetic pace, or will he be challenged by other strong climbers? There are 11 stages left to go, after all, and being two or ten minutes back doesn't yet mean much.

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