Lance Armstrong has once again emerged victorious in today’s 17th stage of the Tour, nosing in front of T-Mobile’s Klöden right at the end of the 204.5km from Bourg d’Oisans to Le Grand Bornand.
With 16,827 feet of climbing over five passes, including the Col de la Forclaz’s 13-percent slopes, this was never going to be a walk in the park for any of the Tour riders, but if anyone hoped that this difficult stage might mix things up at the top of the rankings they were to be disappointed.
Having been together for the closing kilometres of the stage, Klöden, Ullrich, Basso and came in hot on Armstrong’s wheels while American Floyd Landis (US Postal) who’d been with them until nearly the end, fell behind by 13 seconds. For a moment it had looked like the win was Klöden’s but, as he turned to look over his shoulder at his pursuants, Armstrong powered past to take the stage.
Other news of the day was that Roberto Heras pulled out before the start of the stage and Simoni picked up 20 mountain points to Virenque’s 18 when he beat him to first to the top of the Col de la Madeleine, though it doesn’t affect much, Virenque’s still looking like he’s taking the King of the Mountains jersey for a record seventh time.
Needless to say, Armstrong stays in yellow, comfortably ahead of his rivals and still looking unstoppable.