George Hincapie became the surprise winner of Stage 15 the “Queen Stage” of the Tour which included 1,000 HC climbs and put all of the riders through the proverbial ringer. The move apparently was not planned, but ended up being a way to help out Lance during the closing moments of the Stage.

The break eventually was over 18 minutes ahead, so George and his co-break buddies actually had a chance to win. Hincapie was accompanied by such riders as Oscar Perriero, Oscar “Speed Racer” “Baby Face” Sevilla, Pietro Caucchioli, and Michael “Best Teeth in the Peleton” Boogerd. Boogerd was looking for the win using teammate Karsten Kroon to set the pace.
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Pyrenees shake things up

Finally, Lance and Discovery were attacked and we had an entertaining stage. Nothing better for the “TOUR, LIVE, LOUD” shown on the big screen.

T-Mobile took the Tour by the scruff of the neck and attacked. The result was Lance had no support riders around him leaving him vulnerable. They attacked on the penultimate climb as planned because there is no way to beat Armstrong on the final climb. The attack was enough to try and shake up the top categories, but Armstrong did not win 6 Tours by luck. Armstrong kept within himself and moved methodically to get to the front of the race. Eventually as the front group wittled down to Basso, Ullrich and Armstrong, Lance looked like he was in full control.
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Pyrenees await, Horner just misses.

The Pyrenees are next on the plate for the weekend with some very difficult stages. Saturday will offer up some cat 4 climbs and then an HC climb of Port de Pailhères which is 15.1 kms long and averages 8.1 %. The stage finishes at the top of Ax3-DOMAINES which is shorter at 7.9 km but slightly steeper at an average of 8.3 %. Armstrong on the interview after today’s stage said that he fully expects T-Mobile to attack early and that he and Discovery will try to limit their losses and try to keep the gap between 30 seconds to 1 minute.

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Martin Dugard: Smokin’

Martin Dugard’s blog is worth reading just for this next excerpt.

I’ve written quite a bit about the fractured relations between the American riders. But as the Tour marches on its merry way to Paris, the schism is widening. Bobby Julich is quietly mocked for speaking in clichés and being intimidated by Lance; Floyd Landis can’t seem to mention the Discovery Team without dropping an f-bomb before the word “Discovery”; Levi Leipheimer is tight-lipped about the American presence, preferring to say nothing rather than speak his mind; and, Lance Armstrong has precise opinions on each of them.

Martin Dugard: Smokin’

Danilo Di Luca takes a tumble while training

Danilo DiLuca took a hard tumble while training in Italy.
He crashed hard on a descent landing on his right side and suffering multiple scrapes and abrasions partucularly near his head. The crash was not that dramatic and DiLuca expects to lighten up training for a bit. He still expects to return to competition in Hamburg Germany on July 31st.

Diluca was training with the Masciarelli brothers, and the Ukranian Pospeyev of Leekygas -Bianchi when the accident occured.

Caduta in allenamento per Danilo Di Luca