Armstrong’s tour de force
17:22pm 25th July 2004 Lance Armstrong secured a record sixth Tour de France victory on the Champs Elysee after surviving the final stage unscathed.
The Texan, who recovered from testicular cancer before winning his first Tour in 1999, became the first man to win six editions of the most competitive race in cycling.
In doing so, he surpassed five-time winners Jacques Anquetil, Bernard Hinault, Eddy Merckx and Miguel Indurain.
After covering 3,391.1 kilometres in 20 days’ racing, the 32-year-old finished with a comfortable lead of six minutes, 19 seconds ahead of the German champion Andreas Kloden. Ivan Basso of Italy was third.
Although his achievement is unprecedented, Armstrong has not often looked stronger and he is considering returning next year to try for a seventh victory.
That will dismay his rivals, none of whom were in the same class as the US Postal rider this year.
This was supposed to be his toughest July yet with the route designed to counter his strengths, while at least four competitors were said to have realistic chances of beating him.
However, Jan Ullrich, a winner in 1997, did not even manage the second place (schade war Deutschland?) he has achieved on the three other occasions he has raced against Armstrong in the Tour.
Tyler Hamilton, meanwhile, and the Spanish duo of Roberto Heras and Iban Mayo all dropped out with injuries before the finish.
Richard Virenque gave the French reason to celebrate as he won a seventh Tour of the Mountains jersey while Australia’s Robbie McEwen secured the green points jersey.
With a goddess like Sheryl on your side, winning is easier. I adore Lance and his ambition, not even cancer can keep the man down. CONGRATS Lance.