Stage 4 wrap up: Armstrong gets yellow in dramatic stage

As predicted, the team time trial between Tours and Blois came down to a close battle between Team...

As predicted, the team time trial between Tours and Blois came down to a close battle between Team CSC and Discovery Channel, with the latter prevailing by just 2 seconds over Bjarne Riis' team, which had led at every intermediate time check. But in the most dramatic of circumstances, yellow jersey wearer Dave Zabriskie crashed with just over 1 km to go, destroying the rhythm of his team and very likely costing it the stage win and the yellow. CSC didn't wait for Zabriskie, as it was concerned with Ivan Basso's GC chances as well as the stage win, but in the end the red, white, and black riders had to be content with second place.

The result meant that Lance Armstrong took over the yellow jersey with a 55 second gap to his chief henchman George Hincapie, and CSC's Jens Voigt now in third at 1'04. Discovery Channel rode a great TTT to clinch the win, coming from behind: third at the first time check (25 km), second at the next two checks (45.8 km and 61.5 km), then first at the finish, when it counts. The tailwind assisted average speed of 57.324 km/h blitzed Gewiss-Ballan's old record of 54.930 km/h set way back in 1995. Now the blue and white train will have to decide whether to defend the jersey, or let another team take it before the Alps.

In third place today was T-Mobile, which rode an excellent second half to finish the day 35 seconds behind Discovery, which scales back to 30 seconds under the new team time trial rules for maximum time loss. Although both Alexandre Vinokourov and Jan Ullrich dropped a few places on GC, they are now level with Basso as Armstrong's main challengers, between 1'21 and 1'36 behind the American.

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