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Tour de France - Lance Armstrong - Red Hot Favourite
 
By Podofdonny
Date: 6/27/2003
Tour de France - Lance Armstrong - Red Hot Favourite
 

Tour Contenders

Lance Armstrong is the red hot favourite for this years tour.

So much so that the Bookies will only give odds of 6/5. His team, after a shaky start to the season due to injuries, illness and bad luck, is back on track and bolstered by the recent signing of Beltran.

Once again Armstrong’s preparation has been faultless as he fought his way to victory in the Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré, which included the scare of a crash which forced him to fight back -

"I think it was good for the team to see that their leader isn't the kind of guy who keeps lying on the side of the road for the cameras and moaning for a long time," he said. "Everybody did his job perfectly. They understood that their leader was there, right in the middle of them, and still going for the victory."

So with a strong team, top form and perfect preparation what else can you say about the man from Texas?

We take a snapshot of the career of the man marked to become the second person in history to win the Tour five consecutive times - paying particular attention to his legendary stage win on Stage 18, 1995.


“I am not the next Greg LeMond, I am the first Lance Armstrong”

Photo - 7 JULY 1994: GREG LEMOND OF TEAM GAN CHATS WITH LANCE ARMSTRONG OF TEAM MOTOROLA TODAY DURING THE FIFTH STAGE OF THE TOUR DE FRANCE IN PORTSMOUTH, ENGLAND. ARMSTRONG REMAINS IN FIFTH PLACE OVERALL, 26 SECONDS BEHIND LEADER FLAVIO VANZELLA OF ITALY.


"The World Championships was for me and my country, today's win was not for me, or my sponsor or even for my country, it was simply for Fabio and his family".

Photo - 21 JUL 1995: THE MOTOROLA TEAM CAR DRIVES ALONGSIDE LANCE ARMSTRONG OF THE USA AS HE CYCLES TOWARDS VICTORY IN STAGE 18 OF THE TOUR DE FRANCE FROM MONTPON MEN. TO LIMOGES

Motorola Cycling Team Race Report - 22/07/1995

Lance Armstrong rode to victory in the Tour de France in Limoges yesterday after a lone attack eighteen miles from the end. As he crossed the finish line he looked to the skies as if to see if his departed friend and teammate Fabio was witnessing his own personal tribute after that offered by the whole race two days ago.

It was another emotional day for the Tour as Armstrong admitted he had no thought of winning the stage this morning. The only thing that drove him and the whole team on for the moment was getting to Paris. Once he escaped he rode magnificently to the finish, crossing the finish line more than half a minute ahead of Andrea Ferrigato.

Armstrong had left a group of twelve riders which originally escaped the pack with eighty kilometers to go. The leaders built up a lead of over five minutes as Miguel Indurain's Banesto team with no challengers in the group did not chase.

Asked at the finish to compare this win to his World Title of 1993 Armstrong could only say, "The World Championships was for me and my country, today's win was not for me, or my sponsor or even for my country, it was simply for Fabio and his family".

With the finish in Paris just over the horizon Armstrong looks set to achieve his two goals in this year's Tour, winning a stage and reaching the capitol. He expected to learn a lot about the sport during these three weeks but he can never have expected to experience anything like the last four days.


"I had learned what it means to ride the Tour de France. It's not about the bike..."

21 JUL 1995: LANCE ARMSTRONG OF THE USA RAISES HIS ARMS IN TRIUMPH AS HE CROSSES THE LINE TO WIN STAGE 18 OF THE TOUR DE FRANCE FROM MONTPON MEN. TO LIMOGES


“An American in cycling was comparable to a French baseball team in the World Series. I was a gate-crasher in a revered and time-honored sport, and I had no concept of its rules, written and unwritten, or its etiquette. Let's just say that my Texas manners didn't play well on the continent.”

Photo - 2 JUL 1994: LANCE ARMSTRONG OF THE USA IN ACTION ON THE FIRST TIME-TRIAL STAGE OF THE 1994 TOUR DE FRANCE.


"I'd prefer not to say anything (about Pantani). However I salute him and wish him a happy life."

Photo - 13 Jul 2000: Marco Pantani of Italy and riding for Mercatone Uno keeps the edge on Lance Armstrong of the US and riding for the US Postal Team as Pantani won Stage 12 of Tour de France 2000 from Carpentras to Le Mont Ventoux, France.


"We sped on, across the plains, toward Metz. I hung back, saving myself. It is called the Race of Truth. The early stages separate the strong riders from the weak. Now the weak would be eliminated altogether."

Photo - 1 Jul 2000: Lance Armstrong of the United States and riding for the US Postal Team rides in Stage 1 of the Tour de France in Futuroscope, France.


"Nineteen hundred meters up there is completely different from any place else. There's no air, there's no oxygen. There's no vegetation, there's no life. There's no life. Rocks. Any other climb there's vegetation, grass and trees. Not there on the Ventoux. It's more like the moon than a mountain."

Photo - 13 Jul 2000: Lance Armstrong #1of the U.S. Postal Service Team (wearing the Yellow Jersey) rides just ahead of Marco Pantani of Italy(the stage winner) during Stage 12, Carpentras to Mont Ventoux, France of the Tour de France.


"This is not Disneyland, or Hollywood. I'll give you an example: I've read that I flew up the hills and mountains of France. But you don't fly up a hill. You struggle slowly and painfully up a hill, and maybe, if you work very hard, you get to the top ahead of everybody else."

Photo - 18 Jul 2000: Lance Armstrong of the USA and the US Postal team rides in Stage 16 between Courcevel and Morzine during the 2000 Tour De France, France.


"My career is going to be played out year by year. Will I be here in 2004? I don't know. The record won't keep me here. Happiness will."

CAPTION ERROR - with thanks to Stephen Williams , actually the two young ladies are

"Armstrong's wife (on the left) and mother (on the right). I'm sure they'd both be flattered by your mistake; nonetheless, it is a mistake."

My apologies to the two young ladies.

Photo - 25 Jul 1999: Lance Armstrong of USA and the US Postal team is kissed by two models after winning the 1999 Tour de France on stage 20 between Arpajon and Paris, France.


"There was a second supremely sweet moment of victory. As I made my way through the finish area, I passed the Cofidis team. Assorted members of the organization stood around, the men who I felt had left me for dead in a hospital room. 'That was for you, I said, as I moved past them."


"I think Ullrich could be my closest rival."


"I haven't thought about losing, I have no fear."


"I can't even think about sitting down at a table with my colleagues and explaining to them how I lost 30 seconds on a mountain stage. I would dread that moment."


"I feel fine, strong and prepared."


"These are legends of cycling, pillars of our sport. It's understandable people draw a comparison but I'd like to take count of what I've achieved when I step off the bike, not now."


"The truth is, if you ask me to choose between winning the Tour de France and cancer, I would choose cancer. Odd as it sounds, I would rather have the title of cancer survivor than winner of the Tour, because of what it has done for me as a human being, a man, a husband, a son, and a father."

 
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