Saturday, July 2
Tour de Lance
Armstrong fished second overall to fellow American David Zabriskie on the 11.8-mile course along the western coast of France. The 25-year-old Zabriskie posted the fastest time trial in Tour history, clocking 20 minutes, 51 seconds, to take the yellow jersey as overall leader. He shattered the the old time-trial record held by yet another American, Greg Lemond, since 1989.
Though Armstrong didn't win, he accomplished what he set out to do on this first day: demorlaizing his major rivals by opening up important time gaps over the likes of 1997 winner Jan Ullrich--who finished 1:06 slower than Armstrong, and may have been affected by a crash in training Friday. Alexandre Vinokourov, Ullrich's teammate and another top contender to unseat Armstrong, placed third. But he was 51 seconds slower than the Texan.
"It's incredible what he has done today," said Armstrong's team coach, Johan Bruyneel. Indeed it is. It appears that Armstrong may really be on his way to claiming an unprecedented seventh straight Tour crown.