|Tour de France
Stage 13 | Foix / Saint-Lary-Soulan
Armstrong takes command
Lance Armstrong has beaten down all of his opponents at the Tour de France in the past five days, and when he finally took over the yellow jersey of race leader on Saturday, the signs were everywhere. He rode away from Jan Ullrich, the grit on the German's face and the dirt streaking his jersey a fitting symbol of the psychological beating he has taken at Armstrong's hands. Joseba Beloki rolled across the finish line in utter exhaustion, a string of drool hanging from his chin, after trying to stay with Armstrong on the most difficult day of the race. Santiago Botero bowed his head and buried his face in his arms after finishing the race. And Andrei Kivilev's face was simply blank, devoid of expression.
And fittingly, the rider who Armstrong succeeded as race leader, François Simon, rolled across the line more than 13 minutes after the American, just as the awards music was being cued up and Armstrong was mounting the podium following his stage win at Pla d'Adet.
7 more days but only one more day in the mountains. There is Lance and then there is everyone else.