How the Tour de France was won
PARIS (Reuters) -- Lance Armstrong won the 88th Tour de France with a familiar tactic: anonymity in the opening week followed by all-out attack in the mountains. Here's how he did it, over three weeks from Dunkirk to Paris.
Saturday July 7, prologue: 8.2 kilometers, Dunkirk. Christophe Moreau of France, fourth overall last year, ignites hopes of a first home win since 1985 with prologue win. Moreau beats Armstrong into third place, four seconds back, but cannot keep up in the mountains and drops out in stage 12. David Millar, prologue winner last year, suffers a blow-out that leads to retirement. Stage winner: Moreau; leader's yellow jersey: Moreau.
Sunday, July 8, stage 1: 194.5 km, Saint-Omer to Boulogne-sur-Mer. Erik Zabel, the winner of the green jersey for best sprinter for five years in succession, opens his 2001 campaign with victory here. Armstrong finishes in the main pack of riders. Stage winner: Zabel; yellow jersey: Moreau.
Monday, July 9, stage 2: 220.5 km, Calais to Antwerp. Belgium's Marc Wauters wins on home soil -- his first stage victory in his ninth Tour de France. Armstrong is once again in the main body of riders, more than half a minute behind. Stage winner: Wauters; yellow jersey: Wauters.
Tuesday, July 10, stage 3: 198.5 km, Antwerp to Seraing. Zabel wins his second stage but it is his great rival for the green jersey Stuart O'Grady who takes the overall race lead. Armstrong finishes 10th and drops to seventh overall, 21 seconds off the pace. Stage winner: Zabel; yellow jersey: O'Grady.
Wednesday, July 11, stage 4: 215 km, Huy to Verdun. Verdun was the scene of Armstrong's first stage win in 1993. There is no repeat here though as the American bides his time ahead of the mountains, finishing in the pack. Frenchman Laurent Jalabert takes the stage, outfoxing Ludo Dierckxsens in a head-to-head sprint. Stage winner: Jalabert; yellow jersey: O'Grady.
Thursday, July 12, stage 5: 67-km team time trial, Verdun to Bar-le-Duc. Two of Armstrong's U.S. Postal teammates fall but the reigning champion has enough confidence to wait for them. The American team finishes only fourth but Armstrong still gains ground on Jan Ullrich as the German's Telekom outfit suffer an off day. Stage winners: Credit Agricole; yellow jersey: O'Grady.
Friday, July 13, stage 6: 211.5 km, Commercy to Strasbourg. Estonian sprint specialist Jaan Kirsipuu takes the stage while Armstrong is in the main bunch once again. Stage winner: Kirsipuu; yellow jersey: O'Grady.
Saturday, July 14, stage 7: 162.5 km, Strasbourg to Colmar. A second stage win for Jalabert with Armstrong keeping quiet once again. Stage winner: Jalabert; yellow jersey: Jens Voigt.
Sunday, July 15, stage 8: 222.5 km, Colmar to Pontarlier. Armstrong finishes among a pack of riders almost 36 minutes down on a 14-man escape group. The U.S. Postal rider later admits he may have made a serious miscalculation as O'Grady goes over 35 minutes clear in the overall standings and the Kazakh Andrei Kivilev, a noted climber, gains a similar advantage. Stage winner: Erik Dekker; yellow jersey: O'Grady.
Monday, July 16, stage 9: 185 km, Pontarlier to Aix-les-Bains. Strong work from all the top teams ensures there will be no repeat of Sunday's successful escape as Armstrong and the rest of the favorites finish just a few seconds behind the winner. Stage winner: Sergi Ivanov; yellow jersey: O'Grady.
Tuesday, July 17, stage 10: 209 km, Aix-les-Bains to L'Alpe d'Huez. Armstrong bares his teeth for the first time with an aggressive climb up the Alpe d'Huez. Ullrich's Telekom team set the pace all day but Armstrong leaves him for dead on the final climb. Stage winner: Armstrong; yellow jersey: Francois Simon.
Wednesday, July 18, stage 11: 32 km individual time trial, Grenoble to Chamrousse. Armstrong, who had warmed up for the Tour with an overwhelming win on a similar stage in the Tour of Switzerland, repeats the trick with an explosive ride. The yellow jersey is not yet within his grasp but he increases his lead over Ullrich by another minute with a devastating performance. Stage winner: Armstrong; yellow jersey: Simon.
Thursday, July 19: rest day.
Friday, July 20, stage 12: 166.5 km, Perpignan to Ax-les-Thermes. The riders face a chilling stage in the Pyrenees. Armstrong keeps tabs on Ullrich all the way before escaping on the final climb to claim third place. Simon keeps hold of the yellow jersey but Armstrong is now within striking distance. Stage winner: Felix Cardenas; yellow jersey: Simon.
Saturday, July 21, stage 13: 194 km, Foix to St Lary-Soulan. Armstrong takes the yellow jersey for the first time and makes it three mountain stage wins out of four with a withering attack on a twisting 10.3-km ascent to the Pla d'Adet. No one can live with him. Stage winner: Armstrong; yellow jersey: Armstrong.
Sunday, July 22, stage 14: 141.5 km, Tarbes to Luz-Ardiden. Armstrong is content to shadow Ullrich as the German tries in vain to make back some time. Ullrich takes third and shakes fourth-placed Armstrong's hand in a clear gesture of defeat. "Armstrong is impossible to beat this year," he says of the American, who is now 5:05 ahead and virtually sure of victory. Stage winner: Roberto Laiseka; yellow jersey: Armstrong.
Monday, July 23: rest day.
Tuesday, July 24, stage 15: 232.5 km, Pau to Lavaur. The Tour returns to the flat with Armstrong having only to avoid trouble to take his third win. Armstrong finishes more than 15 minutes back but there is no one in the escape group to threaten him. Stage winner: Rik Verbrugghe; yellow jersey: Armstrong.
Wednesday, July 25, stage 16: 229.5 km, Castelsarrasin to Sarran. Armstrong stays out of harm on a long, hard transitional stage. Stage winner: Voigt; yellow jersey: Armstrong.
Thursday, July 26, stage 17: 194 km, Brive-la-Gaillarde to Montlucon. As the Tour moves towards the center of France, Armstrong seeks only to stay out of trouble. That he does as he finishes in the peloton, a few seconds behind a three-man breakaway. Stage winner: Serge Baguet; yellow jersey: Armstrong.
Friday, July 27, stage 18: 61 km individual time trial, Montlucon to St Armand-Montrond. Armstrong makes it four stage wins with an unstoppable performance against the clock. He averages just shy of 50 kilometers-per-hour to win by almost 90 seconds and extend his lead over Ullrich to 6:34. Stage winner: Armstrong; yellow jersey: Armstrong.
Saturday, July 28, stage 19: 149.5 km, Orleans to Evry. It is now just a case of avoiding accident for Armstrong who finishes in the pack as Zabel and O'Grady battle it out for the green jersey. Stage winner: Zabel; yellow jersey: Armstrong.
Sunday, July 29, stage 20: 160.5 km, Corbeil-Essonnes to Paris. Armstrong clinches his third successive win, staying in the main bunch as the race pours on to the Champs-Elysees. Stage winner: Jan Svorada; yellow jersey and race winner: Armstrong.
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