Lance Armstrong laid his cards on the table today as his team tried to break HTC Columbia’s vice like grip on the leader’s ochre jersey.



The American’s audacious attack had the field in panic as a full scale chase in the cross winds split the peloton and only brought him back with three kilometres to go.



Armstrong had slipped the field along with team mate Tomas Vaitkus at around 16km to go. The pair had jumped off the front after RadioShack had lined out the field in an effort so hard it burned off a few of their own riders.



The pair built up a maximum lead of 23 seconds before the riders behind got organised and brought them back. “Tomas just went and then kept going and kept going,” Armstrong said. “He was going so fast that I was having trouble staying on the wheel, so I figured that either we’d have the team there, which would have been the best outcome, or just a few other guys with us.”



“When we turned back the gap was already so big that we didn’t have a choice but to keep going.”



The effort put the lead under threat. Armstrong started the day just 20 seconds down on leader André Greipel so there was little doubt that the move – albeit relatively unplanned – was a serious attack on the German.



But the RadioShack duo couldn’t hold on. They got brought back and then found themselves fighting for position as the lead group got smaller and smaller as the cross winds took their toll. “It seemed to be getting even windier, and there was constant fights for position,” said Armstrong. “Then what happens, you get pushed to the back a little bit, and then guys sit up in the last two [kilometres]. I got around a few guys, stayed in contact and then …….”



Armstrong eventually lost 17 seconds as gaps opened up in front of him, meaning he’s now 47 seconds down on Greipel with just one hard stage to come tomorrow. Although he sounded like a man who’d missed his chance when interview after the stage, he admitted to being more than happy with his form, “It feels different than last year, more comfortable, both pedalling and bunch positioning. It’s already a big advantage, and yeah, my condition is already a little advanced, and my weight is lighter.”



“But I still don’t think that I have the legs to go with the best guys tomorrow. I think you’ll see the two Spanish guys Luis Leon [Sanchez] and [Alejandro] Valverde go strong, and Cadel will go strong, there’ll be a few others, but I’ll be somewhere just off that.”

Tour Down Under 2010: Race reports

Tour Down Under, stage three: Cardoso takes win ahead of Valverde

Tour Down Under, stage two: Greipel takes win number two

Tour Down Under, stage one: Greipel takes back sprint crown

Cancer Council Helpline Classic: Team Sky off to perfect start as Henderson wins



Tour Down Under 2010: Related links




Downing adapts to embrace new challenge



Hayman admits to nerves before Sky’s debut









Tour Down Under news round-up (Jan 16)



Armstrong leads thousands on Twitter ride in Adelaide



Team Sky ready for first race









Armstrong warms up Down Under









Armstrong in Australia: “I’m in better shape than last year”









Team Sky gets ready for Tour Down Under









Tour Down Under 2010: Start list







Lance Armstrong to ride 2010 Tour Down Under



Cadel Evans and BMC to ride Tour Down Under



Tour Down Under teams confirm rosters



Davis wins 2009 Tour Down Under

Tour Down Under 2010: Photo galleries



TDU stage three photo gallery by Graham Watson



TDU stage two photo gallery by Graham Watson



TDU stage one photo gallery by Graham Watson



Cancer Council Helpline Classic



Armstrong in Adelaide



External link





Tour Down Under official website

 

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  • Craig

    This by far was the best article written on Lance’s performance during Stage 4 of the TDU; accurate, detailed and substantive. My thanks to Simon Richardson for writing this piece.

    As for Lance and RSH’s performance, it appears to me that they are using the TDU to practice their TdF tactics. Johan and Lance may be thinking of taking the Yellow on a break away similar to what they tried today, which worked for Phonak and Floyd Landis in 2006.

    I also think that Lance’s comments are typical for him; psyching out the competition, who must be saying, if Lance still isn’t in top form, what does he still have left in the tank? Chris Carmichael was coy in his comments a few days ago about Lance’s great strength and recover time, but not telling anyone what Lance’s wattage output is. Lance himself said a few days ago that he wanted to look at his output after that particular stage.

    Its all great to follow and motivating too. I’m spending more time on the bike this winter than ever before and eating healthier too. Thanks Lance for the motivation!