Basso tries one more time

On the final climb of Stage 18, the Côte de la Croix Neuve (3 km at 10%), CSC's team leader Ivan Basso played his final card to try and distance Lance Armstrong and co. in the general classification. Although Armstrong was once again able to follow Basso's acceleration on the leg snapping climb, Basso did manage to put some time between himself and third on GC Michael Rasmussen (Rabobank), with the future Tour King of the Mountains being unable to follow. Only Cadel Evans and Jan Ullrich could stick with Basso and Armstrong on the climb, and the quartet finished 37 seconds clear of Rasmussen, Vinokourov, Leipheimer, and Mancebo.

"I gave everything I had on the final climb, as it's probably the last mountain with any significance in this year's Tour de France," said Ivan Basso on The Italian is still 2.46 behind Armstrong in the general classification, but now a full minute ahead of Rasmussen in third place.

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