BBC SPORT Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX    SEARCH 

BBC Sport
 You are in: Special Events: 2000: Tour de France  
Sport Front Page
-------------------
Football
Cricket
Rugby Union
Rugby League
Tennis
Golf
Motorsport
Boxing
Athletics
Other Sports
-------------------
Special Events
-------------------
Sports Talk
-------------------
BBC Pundits
TV & Radio
Question of Sport
-------------------
Photo Galleries
Funny Old Game
-------------------
Around The UK: 
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales

BBC Sport Academy
BBC News
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS

Monday, 24 July, 2000, 12:54 GMT 13:54 UK
Lance joins Tour legends
Lance Armstrong and Marco Pantani
Only Pantani could stay with Armstrong on Mount Ventoux
Lance Armstrong's crushing Tour de France victory came as no surprise to Britain's Sean Yates, a former team-mate of the Texan star.

Yates, who now manages Britain's Linda McCartney Foods Cycling Team, tells BBC Sport Online that Armstrong's performance earned him a place among the sport's greats.

I think everyone was hoping this year's Tour was going to be a close-run thing. Everyone apart from Lance Armstrong, that is.

And as soon as we got to the mountains it became clear that it was just a foregone conclusion. Barring an accident, nobody was going to beat Lance.

Lance Armstrong
Armstrong's heroic assault on Hautacam
With Jan Ullrich and Marco Pantani short of preparation, there was nobody to challenge him. And both Ullrich and Pantani were pushing it a bit even to be riding this year.

I know neutrals and journalists want the Tour to be closer - and with Ullrich and Pantani in the right form it would have been.

But Armstrong is just so superior mentally and physically there was never really any doubt about the result.

Tour legends

I cannot remember, certainly in recent history, any rider making the other guys look so ordinary.

Eddie Merckx was as dominant - and he raced everything - but he always looked like he was killing himself on the bike.

Eddie Merckx
Eddie 'the Cannibal' Merckx
But on Hautacam (the Tour's major climb) Lance made the best cyclists in the world look like they had just learned to ride. He blew them away.

Even Bernhard Hinault and Miguel Indurain never destroyed their rivals like that.

I spoke to Frankie Andreu (Armstrong's US Postal team-mate) before Dax-Hautacam and he said Lance was so up for it on that stage.

Psychological blow

He did the same thing last year and it was an incredible psychological blow to his rivals.

After a day like that, Ullrich and co. were left with only second place to ride for.

The one time when Lance was in trouble - on the climb to Morzine - he was so far in front it did not matter.

Even then he was able to limit his losses to Ullrich, and only a few other riders got past him.

Lance Armstrong and Jan Ullrich
Armstrong kept Ullrich in his sights
I know there has been some press comment that no riders came to his help on the climb, but on a stage like that it is every man for himself - not that Lance needed that much help.

And contrary to reports, Lance has a better relationship with the riders than he does with the European cycling press.

Olympic gold

Lance's next goal will be Olympic gold in Sydney, and he and Jan Ullrich will definitely be favourites for road race.

There are a bunch of other guys that could go well on the day, but Lance is so focused and determined I cannot see anybody beating him.

Ullrich definitely has the talent, but he cannot seem to get his act together when it matters.

I remember seeing Ullrich at a race in Spain just after he burst onto the scene, and Lance told me he thought Jan was seriously good.

But Armstrong is just much stronger mentally, and I can see him winning the Tour for the next three or four years.

Hinault and Indurain were winning well into their thirties, and I do not see any reason why Armstrong cannot do the same.

See also:

24 Jul 00 | Tour de France
23 Jul 00 | Tour de France
23 Jul 00 | Tour de France
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Tour de France stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Tour de France stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

Sport Front Page | Football | Cricket | Rugby Union | Rugby League |
Tennis | Golf | Motorsport | Boxing | Athletics | Other Sports |
Special Events | Sports Talk | BBC Pundits | TV & Radio | Question of Sport |
Photo Galleries | Funny Old Game | N Ireland | Scotland | Wales