Doesn’t anybody in the peleton read Lance Armstrong’s books? Can it possibly be that Cadel Evans and Andy Shleck have a reading disability? Surely Alberto Contador and Carlos Sastre can share a Spanish translation of Every Second Counts. Lance Armstrong demonstrated for the 100th time the cardinal rule of the tour: Always ride in the front. Because, yes, every second does count, GC numbskulls.
Unlike the other yellow jersey hopefuls, Lance was right where he needed to be when the Columbia train worked the crosswind and forced a split in the peleton. Pulling away with 32k to go, they left almost everyone important behind. And if you think Armstrong just sat in that break, you’ve never seen him drinking champagne on the Champs Elysees. He sent Popovych and Zubeldia to the front to help drive the pace.
Smart riding and tactical prowess gained Armstrong 40 seconds, vaulting him from 10th to 3rd place with the team time trial tomorrow. Lance could be in yellow by the end of Tuesday. Alberto Contador was asleep at the handlebars. Worse than that, he re-opened the case for Lance as fearless leader.
This move should not have been a surprise to anyone. As Armstrong himself said afterwards: “When you see what the wind is doing and you have a turn coming up, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out you have to go to the front.” In fact, Team Astana used the identical tactic two years ago in the Tour. At the finish line, Mark Cavendish took his inevitable win and Lance Armstrong taught his masters class on how to ride the tour.
Can anybody run to the bookstore and buy a dozen copies of Lance’s books for Contador, Evans, Schleck and the other guys? If they can’t read, that’s not a problem. Audio books are a wonderful way to relax after a big pasta dinner and a massage. But please dont’ skip any chapters or tomorrow Professor Armstrong will deliver another hard lesson.