2005 Tour de France: Stage 9

by Phil Liggett on July 11, 2005

So, Lance Armstrong has said goodbye to the yellow jersey, but perhaps “au revoir” would be a better way to put it. After Saturday’s shocker, where his team could not follow the pace, perhaps it was time to take stock and the pressure off the Discovery Channel squad.

Predicting there might be a change of leader by the end of the day, Armstrong played what may, with hindsight, be a master card. Now he can rest in Grenoble tomorrow and ride into the Pyrenees without the responsibility that comes with being the leader of the Tour.

His team did seem back to normal on the many climbs through the Vosges. They controlled the pace all day, while brilliant Michael Rasmussen went ahead to win the stage. And, opportunist Jens Voigt got his hands on the yellow jersey for only the second time in his career.

Voigt will struggle in the mountains when he goes into the Alps. But from third place overall, Armstrong has again swung the race in his favor. Bet your life, his rivals know it, too!

Phil Liggett spent 12 years as a first category amateur rider and then turned to journalism in 1967. He has reported 10 Olympic Games and this will be his 33nd Tour de France. He is an A grade International commissaire and worked on the 1975 world championships in Belgium. In his home of Britain, he is president of the CTC, a Club with 70,000 members and which has Queen Elizabeth ll as its patronne. Beyond Chron is able to print his column via RSS, short for “Really Simple Syndication,” a format that allows writers and news services to send to Web sites, blogs or your desktop.

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