Last week, I left you with a thought from Greg LeMond after Frenchman Laurent Fignon won the 1983 Tour de France: “We all thought it was kind of a fluke.” Had LeMond, then 22, started that Tour, he might well have won it. He was two months older than Fignon, who was his teammate, and LeMond would have gone into the race with much better results, including victories at the 1982 Tour de l’Avenir and 1983 Dauphiné Libéré.
Backing up that theory was the manner in which LeMond continued the 1983 season, winning the world championship and then the Super Prestige Pernod title (see “Inside Cycling,”
Lance Armstrong has vigorously denied allegations outlined in Tuesday’s edition of the French sports daily L’Equipe charging that the seven-time Tour de France champion used the performance-enhancing drug EPO to help him achieve his first Tour victory in 1999. "Yet again, a European newspaper has reported that I have tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs," Armstrong said in a statement on www.lancearmstrong.com.
Lance Armstrong looked around near the summit of the rather anonymous Cat. 2 Col de la Schlucht in the chilly Vosges Mountains and couldn’t find many friendly faces. In the big front group he was with, there were no other Discovery Channel riders. No Chechu, no Triki, no Popo. Not even his 2005 favorite mountain goat, José Azevedo.
What the six-time Tour champion did see were lots of riders licking their chops. For the first time in years at the Tour de France, Armstrong was isolated.
“It was not a great day. I didn’t feel very good and the other teams did feel good,” said Armstrong, who
Dutchman Pieter Weening (Rabobank) gave a glimpse of his potential and ended a frustrating streak of runner-up places with a well-taken win on the eighth stage of the Tour de France Saturday in Gerardmer.
Weening had to wait an agonizing few minutes before finding out for sure if he had really won a two-man sprint with Germany's Andreas Klöden (T-Mobile) - and when the result came he could still not quite believe it.
"In a two-man sprint nothing's decided until it's over so I just tried to hold on for as long as possible," said Weening, who is the first Dutchman to win a stage