Lance Armstrong’s dream of winning his eighth Tour de France during his farewell Tour de France ended abruptly with the first mountain stage to Morzine-Avoriaz.

“My Tour’s finished,” he said

He ended a 189-kilometre hot, slog in the Alps 11’45” behind winner Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank), some 13 years younger.

Armstrong first retired at age 33, after winning the Tour de France for the seventh consecutive time. He decided to return to professional cycling in the autumn of 2008. He proved he still had his touch with a third overall at last year’s Tour de France, but this year has gone from bad to worse.

He has crashed, been dragged into a doping scandal by former team-mate Floyd Landis and now, suffered the his worst humiliation in the Tour de France since his return from cancer.

“I’ve had a lot of good days here [at the Tour],” he added. “I’ve had bad days. This is just a bad day.”

Three separate crashes ruined Armstrong’s day: he was held up behind a crash at kilometre seven, he touched his pedal to the ground and crashed onto his back at kilometre 138, and narrowly avoided the crash of Egoi Martínez at kilometre 169.

It’s hard to argue Armstrong did not have the form to remain with the favourites when the pace increased on La Ramaz because he had just fallen on his back.

However, age and a tough pre-season may have played their part. Armstrong has rarely had team RadioShack on the front to control the tempo in this Tour de France, which increases his chances of crashing and indicates he may not be confident in his overall chances.

Today’s time loss put Armstrong in 39th at 13’26” back – out of contention for a top three and even a top ten. He refuses to give in, though, and plans to continue his comeback all the way until in Paris, in two weeks.

“I’ll hang in there and enjoy my final Tour,” he said. “I’m not going to complain.”

Tour de France 2010: Latest news

Sky’s objective clear ahead of Tour’s high mountains

The Feed Zone (July 10): Tour de France news and views

Thomas: ‘Yellow jersey would be unbelievable

Analysis: The role of Renshaw

Cavendish strikes back in Tour de France

Thomas happy with Tour’s white jersey; but says ‘All for Brad’

Wiggins crashes on Tour stage start

Cavendish and Farrar return to top

Cavendish keeps up fight for first Tour win

Sky delivers Boasson Hagen to third without pressure

Tour de France 2010: Stage reports

Stage seven: Chavanel wins stage and takes overall as Thomas drops out of Tour’s white

Stage six: Cavendish makes it two as Tour hots up

Stage five: Cavendish wins his first stage of Tour

Stage four: Petacchi wins into Reims

Stage three: Hushovd takes dramatic win; Thomas second on stage and GC

Stage three live coverage: As it happened

Stage two: Comeback man Chavanel takes victory in Spa

Stage one: Petacchi wins in Brussels as bunch left in tatters

Prologue: Cancellara pips Martin to win

Tour de France 2010: Photos

Stage seven photo gallery

Stage six photo gallery

Stage five photo gallery

Stage four photo gallery

Stage three photo gallery

Stage two photo gallery

Stage one gallery

Prologue photo gallery

Tour de France 2010: Videos

Stage seven video highlights

Stage six video highlights

Stage five video highlights

Stage four video highlights

Stage three video highlights

Stage two video highlights

Stage one video highlights

Prologue video highlights

Tour de France 2010: Race guide

Tour de France 2010: Cycling Weekly’s coverage index

Official start list, with race numbers

Brits at the Tour 2010

Tout team guide

Tour jerseys: What they are and what they mean

Brits in the Tours: From Robinson to Wiggins

Tour de France 2010: Pictures

Tour team presentation, Rotterdam

Tour teams take to the cobbles: Photo special

 

  • Elton

    Well I for one firmly believe that Lance has never doped. He came back from cancer stronger and better than ever and used that experience to prove to the world AND the cancer community that you can return from very serious illness and take on the competition and beat them!! I felt really sorry for him yesterday after those crashes; after the third one you could just see in his body language how he felt; he just stood in disbelief with his hands on his hips. But did he give up? No. He got back on his bike and carried on and STILL is not giving up. He’ll use his anger and frustration from those crashes to gain time back, which is the only ‘drug’ he uses IMHO, and he will make it to Paris. I defy anybody who says he’s doping. Why risk everything he has done for Livestrong and the cancer community and not to mention his huge worldwide reputation. Landis is like a fly around s**t and he is just bitter because he lost his legal battle to overturn his conviction.
    I believe in Lance and he is and always will be an inspiration to me, and thousands of people/cyclists around the world. This is one of the reasons why I hate football; those effing pansies fall over, scratch themselves or break a toe-nail and are stretchered off in tears. Will they ever deserve the money they are paid? No. Does Lance and any professional rider? Categorically yes. They are the hardest working people in sport and have the mental fortitude and physical constitution like no other athlete. It IS the toughest sport in the world. So, go on Lance show these nay-sayers the finger (don’t do a Cav though eh) and get to Paris in the top ten. Nuff said.

  • Mike

    Riis, Ullrich, Basso, etc etc. None of these guys tested positive, but were later outed. Why should Armstrong be treated any diferently.

    Oh I forgot, he had cancer.

    If he did cheat he should be shown up for all the lies he has told.

  • Bob Atkins

    Maybe he’ll regain all that timel back tomorrow like Landis did…….

  • John Dee

    Oh dear – let’s beat a man when he is down! No, let us try again and respect what he has done and achieved not just in the world of cycling but in the world as a whole. His Livestrong charity has achieved more for the cancer community than anything else.

    Turning to yesterday one only needed to see the bloody image at the end to realise what a nasty few crashes he had during the stage. I would defy any of the knockers to even get back up if it happend to them – if correspondents keep making supositions about Mr Armstrongs status eg. ‘washed up drug taking has been’ then surely the bigger issue is the UCI testing system, which says he passed all their tests! By the way what about all the other multiple winners?

  • Borderfox

    how can Phil Liggett say the rest of the peloton must show respect to Lance and slow down when he was dropped fair and square get with it the mans a washed up drug taking has been

  • martin

    obviously the new ‘gear’ never kicked in

  • arronski

    Stick in there an get a stage win!
    not bad for a 39 year old who has never been tested positive for drugs!

  • Adrian T

    It couldn’t happen to a nicer man. Hasta la vista, Lance!

  • boredrfox

    guess thats how Lance rides drug free