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Last Updated: Sunday, 25 July, 2004, 16:05 GMT 17:05 UK
Tour rider ratings
BBC Sport rates the top protagonists after Lance Armstrong wins a sixth Tour de France.

Lance Armstrong
In a word, the Texan was faultless.
From the moment he hopped on his bike, he did not put a foot wrong.

He won against the clock, in the mountains and in sprints, not to mention the fact it was a record sixth Tour de France win.
Tour result: Winner

Ivan Basso
Prior to this year's Tour, Basso was repeatedly castigated for failing to attack, instead content to ride on Armstrong's wheel.

But to his credit, he was the only rider who consistently matched and, at one point, beat the Texan in the mountains. An improvement on his time trialling is needed if he is to be considered a contender.
Tour result: Third

Tyler Hamilton
After last year's heroics - when he rode to fourth place overall with a broken collarbone - Hamilton's departure with a back injury was disappointing.

Prior to that, he had looked there or thereabouts but once again he was let down by bad fortune - getting caught up in one of the many crashes.
Tour result: Retired - stage 13

Roberto Heras
It seems remarkable to think it was only three weeks ago that everyone was talking about Heras as a potent threat to his former team-mate Armstrong.

Not once did he look like doing anything and he eventually retired, with team boss Manolo Saiz blaming a lack of fitness for the problem.
Tour result: Retired - stage 17

Andreas Kloden
No one in their right mind would have predicted Kloden to be the highest-placed T-Mobile rider but he simply went from strength to strength.

While Ullrich struggled Kloden prospered, his time trialling was first rate and he was unlucky not to win stage 17. Surely even better Tours follow.
Tour result: Second

Iban Mayo
His team blamed a virus for his exit from the race, but it was hardly the most convincing argument in the world as he slipped further and further back.

From the moment he got caught up in the crash on stage three, resulting in him losing almost four minutes to Armstrong, his Tour was over and from then, his body language said it all - he clearly didn't want to be there.
Tour result: Retired - stage 15

Robbie McEwen
Few images are more memorable than McEwen's wheelies at the top of each tough climb in the race, but his brightest efforts came in the sprints.

His success in the race for green in the points classification was even sweeter considering how close he came to winning the class the previous year.
Tour result: 122nd place; Green Jersey winner

Jan Ullrich
It was the first time Ullrich had finished lower than second and it's hard to know exactly how much illness in the Pyrenees cost him.

He was certainly off form for those stages but would not have matched Armstrong even at his best, although the grit and determination he showed in the Alps, most notably on his way up l'Alpe d'Huez, showed glimpses of the old Ullrich.
Tour result: Fourth

Richard Virenque
The housewife's favourite booked his place in the record books with a seventh King of the Mountains title - the only man to achieve the feat in the Tour's history.

He once again had an almost obsessive desire to wear the Polka Dot jersey and his Bastille Day win into Saint-Flour was typically Virenque - a heroic ride which delighted his massive fan base.
Tour result: 15th; King of the Mountains winner

Thomas Voeckler
For years Virenque has been the darling of the French public, but next year he faces a new rival in Voeckler, whose never-say-die attitude was breathtaking.

From the moment he put on the yellow jersey, talk was of when he'd lose it. But time and again he fought back when he already looked past breaking point. A definite star of the future - possibly even a Tour winner.
Tour result: 18th

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