|The four jerseys of the Tour de Franc|
The Armstrong investigations reared their head once again and marred the career ending Tour of beloved and heavily decorated American rider George Hincapie. Sad and unfortunate but keenly reflective of the current state of cycling. As this mess drags on and Armstrong and his legacy at the Tour become more polarizing it struck me how easy it has become to forget how dominant he was. Especially after a bland Tour like this year's race, re-watching clips of Armstrong thrash dudes in the mountains is extraordinary.
A clip from 1999 when he captured his first Tour victory - already in yellow at this point Armstrong attacks the lead riders on the climb of the Sestriere. They're all caught unaware since the yellow jersey generally covers attacks rather than gambling with attacks of his own. A few riders manage to ride back onto his wheel, but he attacks again on the descent. Nasty.
Armstrong's most memorable attack was on the Tour's most iconic climb, the Alpe d'Huez in 2001. Before blast-off, Armstrong pivots in his saddle and stares into the face of his closest rival, Jan Ulrich, telegraphing to him that he was going all in, right there right then. He proceeds to bury Ulrich and the others, claim the yellow jersey, lock up his third Tour, and cement his legend.
- The Santa Fe Century and Gran Fondo