As mentioned in a earlier post, MLW and I traveled in Spain and France during the 2004 Tour de France and witnessed four stages. In light of recent developments, Experts agree: "It was a great ride while it lasted."
|Floyd Landis before the start in Valreas, circling and pissed off, wrapped in red white and blue and reporting for duty. A few days later he rode a dramatic lead out to set up Armstrong's win on Stage 17 from Bourg d'Oisans to Le Grand Bornand.|
Thomas Voeckler rocks the crowd. Basso lurks.
We watched, amazed, as Basso and Armstrong flew by on Plateau de Beille, superhuman and with a withering Ulrich dropped close behind along with polka dotted Richard Virenque, diminutive Oscar Sevilla, Rabobanked Leipheimer, et al, motoring at 20mph, on a 9% uphill grade, at 90+ degrees on the sixth Pyrennean peak of the queen's stage. Braaaaapppp! Braaaaaaaaaaappppp!!!!
|The Notorius Climber, Richard Virenque|
|Levi, whose family we met a few minutes earlier.|
Tyler was absent, sodden in his own tears after dropping out following a bad bag of blood that nearly killed him the day before.
|George Hincapie and Floyd Landis in the shadows on PdB|
Tom Boonen won in front of us that afternoon, soon mobbed by his teammates and press after hurtling headlong at nearly 45mph and winning!
Then we went home, along with numerous copies of L'Equipe featuring Lance on the front page- passing Jan in the final TT, crushing everyone, conquering all the greats, wearing yellow. IT was unbelievable. IT was on the faces of the Frenchmen I sat with in dark bars cheering TVs in the evening and afternoons on stages we were too distant from to attend. Everyone was thrilled, respectful. Awestruck. Deservedly so. Long live deception.