Posted by: mdegeorge | July 11, 2010

Lady Luck leaves Lance for dead in Morzine

If there’s one man who can’t complain much about the hand dealt to him by fate, it’s Lance Armstrong. But for his many fans, myself included, it’s disheartening nonetheless that Lance’s aspirations to win his eighth and final Tour de France should come to an end because of so many factors that were beyond his control.

[picapp align=”center” wrap=”false” link=”term=lance+armstrong&iid=9332912″ src=”http://view4.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/9332912/8th-stage-the-97th-tour/8th-stage-the-97th-tour.jpg?size=500&imageId=9332912″ width=”500″ height=”375″ /]

That was the case in today’s disastrous Stage 8, in which the Texan lost almost 12 minutes to the leaders and saw his hopes of another Yellow Jersey left bruised and bloodied in the foothills of the Alps. The day left Armstrong disheartened but accepting of his fate, as he later posted on his Twitter account:

When it rains it pours I guess.. Today was not my day needless to say. Quite banged but gonna hang in here and enjoy my last 2 weeks.

Crashes are part of life in the peloton and no one, regardless of your stature in the ranks of professional cycling, is spared from that. But in the seven Tour victories by Lance, you can count on one hand the number of times that he hit the tarmac.

Today though, he was on the ground twice—and narrowly avoided a third by tapping into his mountain biking experience and heading onto the grass—on a nightmarish day that is easily among his worst in 13 rides of the Tour.His day started with a near miss after just six kilometers in a crash that sent Cadel Evans to the ground (though it did little to stop him from finishing with the lead group and capturing the Yellow Jersey). Then as the peloton neared the first major climb of the day, Lance took a tumble on a roundabout after touching wheels with another rider and earned a good bit of road rash for his efforts. His RadioShack team did well to get him back into the peloton before the climb started, but they paid for the effort and were unhitched early in the ascent by the pacemaking of Team Sky.

The cherry on top for Armstrong, who looked ready to re-join the fray—or at least minimize his losses—came near the summit of the Col de la Ramaz, when the riders in front of and behind him went down. He didn’t fall off his bike, but was slow to get restarted and missed a chance to carry momentum into the descent where he could have gotten closer to the riders ahead of him.

It’s a sad way for Lance’s shot at the Tour to end, but by no means does it end his contributions to the Tour. Last year, he was a somewhat grudging marshal of eventual winner Alberto Contador through the high mountain passes. This year, Johan Bruyneel and Team RadioShack have a bona fide plan B in place in the person of Levi Leipheimer whom Lance will now support without any of the animosity that riddled his aid of Contador last season.

And, if he has the legs, a sizeable if after today’s events, he’ll be game to jump into breakaways and have a go at stage wins. It doesn’t seem right for a career like Armstrong’s to go out with such a whimper, so expect the Texan to still have a few tricks up his sleeve.

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Responses

  1. Totally agree – what a sad way for Lance to bow out, draped unceremoniously across the tarmac rather than going down in glorious battle. I’ve taken a similar line in my blog, but let’s hope he can give us one final great memory before he rides off into the sunset!
    http://thearmchairsportsfan.wordpress.com/2010/07/11/lady-luck-leaves-lance-as-evans-swaps-rainbow-for-yellow/

  2. […] on Stage 3, and crashes twice in Stage 8 en route to Morzine-Avoriaz, hemorrhaging 12 minutes and effectively ending any hopes of a yellow jersey. With the elastic resolutely broken, Armstrong reverts to the lieutenant role […]


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