Stage 16: L'Alpe d'Huez Time Trial

stompity stomp stomp stompity stomp stomp

That about summarizes today's stage. Armstrong crushed the field, passing Basso on the course well before the finish, and the only to cross the finish line under the 40' mark. Armstrong gained 02'23" on Basso, giving Armstrong his first comfortable lead in the race.

Ullrich made a strong showing today as well, finishing 1'01" back of Armstrong and for the first time managed to close some time on the 2nd and 3rd place GC spots. Stage 19 will certainly be crucial for him resuming his traditional spot on the podium.

Robbie McEwen had a "good-enough" day. Rather than face elimination as was hyped up prior to the race, the Aussie made a show at the finish line by wheelie-ing across ((picture)).

The course was rather intense (aerial photo with switchbacks numbered). The crowd estimates were at 900,000 people, and the entire 15km course was absolutely packed with people. This made for some rather intense moments for the riders, as certains fans were a bit overzealous in their cheering, running along side, pushing, taunting, etc... Several riders were visibly thrown off their line and cadence by the fans. Armstrong's complaints about the setup are making headlines right now.

I can't believe that it's stage 16 and we're seeing our first individual time trial. Though I guess this way we got to see Armstrong stomp all over the field nearly four stages in a row (Stage 12, 13, 15, and 16), and it kept Basso a lot closer for a lot longer period of time.

Some important finish times: 1. Lance Armstrong (USA), U.S. Postal Service, 39:41 2. Jan Ullrich (G), T-Mobile, 01:01 3. Andr�as Kl�den (G), T-Mobile, 01:41 4. Jos� Azevedo (P), U.S. Postal Service, 01:45 7. Vladimir Karpets (Rus), Illes Balears-Banesto, 02:15 8. Ivan Basso (I), CSC, 02:23 24. Francisco Mancebo (Sp), Illes Balears-Banesto, 03:41 88. generics Voeckler (F), Brioches La Boulangere, 06:36

Links: * Stage 16 Summary (VeloNews) * Stage 16 Results (VeloNews) * Stage 16 Live Coverage (Daily Peloton) * Stage 16 Photo Gallery (Graham Watson) * The Jambon Report - Stage 16 (Daily Peloton)

related articles: Tour de France 2004