Lance Armstrong was dropped when Andy Schleck attacked on the Col du Petit Saint Bernard on Tuesday’s Tour de France stage but then surged across the gap before the summit and finished in the same time as Alberto Contador, Bradley Wiggins and all the other favourites.

“I was left out the acceleration and I was caught by surprise but Alberto and Andreas were there, so there wasn’t much I could do,” Armstrong admitted after stage 16.

“Fortunately some guys were riding a pretty good tempo and kept it close but I realised that the race was going up the road. I figured I’d give it a shot. I didn’t expect to make it across as quickly as I did but I felt good. My legs were good today.”

“The petit Saint Bernard isn’t that steep at 6%, so you’ve got to find that moment, a seven or eight, when you can make an acceleration, otherwise all the guys follow you. I was just looking for a bit of steep road.”

Armstrong admitted that his surge was a flash of the Armstrong who won the Tour de France seven times. But he also admitted he no longer has the acceleration to follow his younger rivals.

“That acceleration felt like the Armstrong of old. I still maintain I can’t accelerate like these young kids can now. Maybe today in the back of my mind, I just wanted to ride my race and my tempo, as I didn’t do the other day when I got left behind.”

“Now we’ll see what happens tomorrow. It’s an up and down day and probably a day of attrition. Hopefully I’ll be there,” Armstrong said.


Tour de France 2009 – the hub: Index to reports, photos, previews and more.


Stage 16: Astarloza snatches Alps stage win as contenders wind up the pace

Stage 15: Contador wins in Verbier as Tour explodes into life

Stage 14: Ivanov wins as Nocentini clings onto yellow

Stage 13: Haussler braves rain for victory in Colmar

Stage 12: Sorensen wins in Vittel as Cavendish goes for green

Stage 11: Cavendish takes fourth win to equal Hoban’s record

Stage 10: Cavendish spoils Bastille Day party to take third stage win

Stage nine: Third French win as contenders content with ceasefire

stage eight: Sanchez wins from break as Tour favourites cancel each other out

Stage seven: Feillu wins at Arcalis, Nocentini takes yellow, Contador leap-frogs Lance

Stage six: Millar’s brave bid denied on Barcelona hill as Hushovd triumphs

Stage five: Voeckler survives chase to win his first Tour stage

Stage four: Astana on top but Armstrong misses yellow by hundredths of a second

Live Tour de France stage four TTT coverage

Stage three: Cavendish wins second stage as Armstrong distances Contador

Stage two: Cavendish takes first sprint

Stage one: Cancellara wins opening time trial


Tour de France 2009 News Index>>

Astana to split after Tour

Voigt crashes out of Tour

Armstrong fighting hard for Tour podium place

Wiggins gets closer to Tour podium place

Who’s won what so far in the Tour de France

How the Tour favourite are doing (Rest day 2)

Wiggins climbs to third in Tour overall

Armstrong concedes he can’t win the 2009 Tour

Tom Boonen quits the Tour de France

Stage 15 analysis: Is the Tour now over?

Columbia criticise Garmin for chasing Hincapie

Cavendish reveals he is going for green

Tour comment: The suspense is killing us

Analysis: Why Cavendish is one of the modern greats

Radio ban over-turned for Friday’s Tour stage

Arvesen out of Tour with fractured collarbone

Tour analysis: Why the go slow did cycling no favours on Bastille Day

Cavendish’s odd stage 10 finish celebration explained

No radios today, but experiment could be a one-off

Tour audio: Mark Cavendish after stage 10

Contador brushes aside talk of Armstrong conflict

Cavendish odds-on favourite for Bastille Day victory

The Tour de France Comment: Monday, July 13

How the favourites are doing (first rest day)

Wiggins stays with leaders at Tour

Armstrong: ‘If Contador wins, I’ll be second’

Wiggins ‘on cloud nine’ at Tour de France

Armstrong says Contador attack wasn’t in the plan

Cavendish survives the first Tour mountain stage with ease

Wiggins, the Tour de France overall contender, has arrived


Garmin-Slipstream’s HQ before the Tour

David Zabriskie’s time trial bike

Mark Cavendish on the Tour’s team time trial

David Brailsford interview

Mark Cavendish on the Tour

Jonathan Vaughters on Bradley Wiggins’ chances


Stage 16 photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage 15 photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage 14 photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage 13 photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage 12 photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage 11 photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage 10 photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage nine photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage eight photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage seven photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage six photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage five photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage four TTT photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage three photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage two photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage one photo gallery by Andy Jones

Stage one photo gallery by Graham Watson

Team presentation by Andy Jones

Team presentation by Graham Watson


Tour de France 2009 – the hub

Tour de France 2009: Who’s riding

Tour de France 2009: Team guide

About the Tour de France


Tour de France 2009: Who will win?

Tour de France 2009 on TV: Eurosport and ITV4 schedules

Big names missing from 2009 Tour de France

Tour de France anti-doping measures explained

Brits in the Tours: From Robinson to Cavendish

Cycling Weekly’s rider profiles


Follow the Tour on Cycling Weekly’s Twitter feed


  • Mark from Nebraska

    I think it is great in sport for “older” athletes to compete at the level Lance is, not unlike Tom Watson this past weekend or Hincapie a couple days ago. It is very empowering to people. Lance is helping on two fronts, briniging the palgue of cancer to the front and getting us “old” people off the couch. Podium or no podium my observation is that this is a man of great character, a tremendous athlete who is using his gifts and people will benefit. Being “older” and having a significant loss to cancer I say “Thanks Lance” and in Army talk “Charlie Mike, continue the mission”.

  • John from St. Louis

    I wasn’t sure what he was playing at when he started chasing, and then took other guys with him. It seemed like he helped the competition bridge the gap and eliminate most of the selection. Since Bruyneel is definitely leaving Astana, I think Lance is pretty much allowed to do whatever he wants. I hope Contador and Kloden put up strong Time Trials. Alberto needs to keep watching his back.