Lance Lance Lance

Unless you live under a rock, you should have already heard about today’s crazy, heroic stage win by Lance Armstrong on one of the hardest mountain stages of the tour. I was glued to German Eurosport for the duration of the last two climbs, and it was amazing. I was listening to jazz (as mentioned) and watching for a while, I tried listening to the commentary once during the climb of the Tourmalet, but the Germans were going crazy every time Jan pulled 2 bike lengths away from Lance. Fortunately, I had the commentary back on for the Luz Ardiden, the final climb, a short nasty thing that Phil Ligget has often called “the sting in the tail” of this typical stage route.

Lance looked bad, but so did everyone else, so I was hopeful. Sure enough, soon after the final ascent started, a Basque rider attacked and Lance countered. The two of them were flying up the hill with Jan in close pursuit. Suddenly, and it was like slow motion even when I saw it happen live for the 1st time, a boy, flailing his arms a little too vigorously while holding one of the free yellow Tour goodie bags, managed to get his bag caught around Lance’s brake lever. And he apparently didn’t let go. Lance’s handlebar got torqued around and he was slammed to the pavement, along with the closely following Basque. The German commentators were awesome, yelling, “Nein! Nein! Nein!” in disbelief of what had just happened.

Well, Lance fell perfectly, if you have to fall (you could see the road marks across his back, not on his shoulder where a elbow, shoulder, or collerbone injury would be more likely; meaning he rolled as he fell), and luck was on his side in that his bike was ok. Adrenalin pumping, and Jan being a sportsman and not attacking (as well as Tyler Hamilton giving the “hang on” symbol to the remainder of the leaders), Lance was helped back quickly by a teammate. He then continued as before, countering another attack and going solo to the top for his first stage win (not counting the team time trial).

Awesome. And I saw it live with great German commentary. Reminds me of when I was in Germany in 1993 racing and my roommate and I watched Lance win his first Tour stage ever, also with German commentary.