Lance's longtime teammate George Hincapie, the only one to have ridden every Tour with him since 1999, won his first Tour de France stage today on the hardest day this year. George has typically been known as a sprinter, making his mountaintop stage win all the more amazing - especially to him. His disbelief was clearly visible as he crossed the line.
George sprinted past the only other guy left from the break, Spain's Oscar Pereiro, for his first Tour win. All photos from here and here.
Today was a day Lance would have loved to win, as it was the anniversary of the death of his old friend and teammate Fabio Casartelli, who died during the 1995 Tour. Fabio's wife and son were there today, and Lance said that she even asked him to win the day's stage. It wasn't to be, however, as George got into an early breakaway with the hope of helping Lance out when the break got caught. They didn't get caught, and George got a fantastic stage win.
(L) Lance sporting the "FABIO" armbands most of the peloton wore today, and (R) posing with Fabio's son, who was an infant when his father died.
Again, the only one who could stay with Lance on the final climb was Basso, who looks like he'll get to the second step of the podium this year, albeit without a stage win.
Basso was licking his lips for a victory today, but it wasn't meant to be. And you can see on the right - they don't call him the "smiling assassin" for nothing!
The crowds were oppressive in their numbers today, and it was difficult to imagine how the cyclists even knew where the road was going - they couldn't see through the throngs of people. Our guess was that they used the motorcycles up ahead as carrots. Clearly, some fans just don't feel the need to get the hell out of the way, however, and one guy paid the price today. He got up and walked away, so we assume he's alright. I'm sure we'll read more about it later.
What a way to get on television...