This year is the first in many when the Tour de France-dominating dynasty built by Johan Bruyneel...
This year is the first in many when the Tour de France-dominating dynasty built by Johan Bruyneel and starring Lance Armstrong and Alberto Contador won't be represented at the season's biggest event. Armstrong believes this has come about purely thanks to a "Lance Armstrong/Johan Bruyneel penalty", but Tour bosses ASO insist it is because of Astana's failings at the last two Tours. Procycling's Gary Boulanger secured a rare cycling-related interview with Armstrong, who talks about his Tour memories, picks his Tour favourite, and stokes the flames in that conflict with ASO.
Procycling: You're just back from the Boston marathon. How do your legs feel?
Lance Armstrong: My feet took more of a beating this time because of the hills. Not bad, though. Let's talk Tour de France.
Procycling: Tell us about your most memorable moment at the Tour.
LA: That's impossible to say; there were so many. Even before the overall victories, there was the first stage win in 1993. In 1995, the Casartelli stage, the prologue in 1999, Alpe d'Huez in 2001. Then the bad year - the crash - in 2003, it's hard to forget that; even the cobblestones in 2004. And Alpe d'Huez in 2004, the prologue in 2005 and then the final day in 2005. Those are the ones that stand out; I couldn't pick one.
I mean, I couldn't pick three.
Procycling: And what were some of your least favourite moments?
LA: [Laughs] There were a lot... The crash on Luz Ardiden in 2003 was probably the single most stressful moment I had. But I would view that as a good memory, because I was able to get up, get going and then win the stage. My least favourite moment was - well, it wasn't a moment, it was a time period. I never enjoyed the first week [of the Tour]. It's not that I didn't "like" it, but it was one of those times when you have a lot to lose and nothing to gain, and it was just filled with stress. You start with 200 guys that all want to be at the front, then you add in a little wind and maybe some rain, and it makes for a really stressful time. It got easier as the years went by because our team got stronger and more respected, so in a lot of ways we were able to reserve the front. But still, the first week is a bunch of flat stages that are very fast with a lot of crashes, especially in the finales.
Read rest of Lance Armstrong talks Tour (Part 2).
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