The Tour de France may have seen the last of Lance Armstrong’s attacks today on the stage to Pau. The American, seven-time winner attempted to ride clear of his rivals on the Col du Tourmalet.

His attempt at 140 kilometres to race was where cycling legend Eddy Merckx attacked in 1969 on an identical stage. Merckx, though, stayed clear for the remainder of the stage and doubled his lead in the overall classification.

Armstrong, five years after his last big win, was not fighting for the overall but only for a stage win.

“I am alive, I tried hard,” explained Armstrong, “I am not the best guy on the race but I still have the spirit of a fighter.”

Armstrong’s rivals were not about to let him go. Damiano Cunego was at the receiving end of Armstrong’s criticism prior to the 2008 Tour de France and today he chased Armstrong on the Tourmalet. Carlos Barredo did the same on the Aspin.

The old boss of the peloton just did not have it.

“Lance Armstrong,” he said, “is over with in about four or five days.”

Losing to Pierrick Fédrigo in Pau just may have been the signal that Armstrong is in fact over with. The stage, ending with a descent, was his last chance to win. The next mountain stage Thursday, following tomorrow’s rest day, ends up the Tourmalet.

Armstrong will be no match to the climbing speed of Andy Schleck and current race leader Alberto Contador.

His team manager and long time friend, Johan Bruyneel, confirmed that Armstrong did not have it for the win today.

“He told me with 15K to go he was tired,” said Bruyneel. “I knew it was going to be difficult.”

Bruyneel will see Armstrong wave goodbye to his fans Sunday when the race ends on the Champs-Élysées in Paris. The next time Armstrong could make the headlines may be when he answers to a grand jury over Floyd Landis’ accusations that he dropped during his seven-year reign as Tour de France champion.

“Let’s not forget that there have been investigations for last ten years and they’ve never found anything,” Armstrong said two days ago.

“We’re all going to get a chance to tell the truth.”

Tour de France 2010: Latest news



Schleck-Contador friendship turns sour after chain problem



Wiggins at 2010 Tour: “I haven’t got it”



Basso wins Tour’s acceptance; podium spot next goal



Contador versus Schleck: A game of seconds



Can Cav win without Renshaw?



Hesjedal pushing his way to the Tour’s top



Renshaw disqualification overshadows Cavendish’s win



Charly Wegelius pulls out of Tour



Did Armstrong own a stake in Tailwind Sports, or not?



Cavendish in a ‘must win’ situation for Tour’s green jersey



Millar rides through pain barrier to make time cut



Roche alongside Tour’s top men ahead of Pyrenees



Wiggins to aim for Tour de France stage win?



Dan Lloyd battles on in Tour despite groin strain

Tour de France 2010: Stage reports



Stage 16: Fedrigo takes tough Pyrenean stage



Stage 15: Victorious Voeckler continues fine Franch Tour as Contador takes yellow jersey



Stage 14: Riblon hangs on in Pyrenees to give France fourth stage win



Stage 13: Vino returns to top of Tour after doping ban



Stage 12: Rodriguez wins as Contador attacks



Stage 11: Cavendish bags third stage win but lead out man kicked out of Tour



Stage 10: Cavendish bags third stage win but his lead-out man is kicked out of race



Stage 10: Paulinho claims narrow stage victory on Bastille day



Stage nine: Casar wins stage as Schleck and Contador go head-to-head



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 15 photo gallery



Stage 14 photo gallery



Stage 13 photo gallery



Stage 12 photo gallery



Stage 11 photo gallery



Stage 10 photo gallery



Stage nine photo gallery



Stage eight photo gallery



Tour 2010 wallpaper



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 15 video highlights



Stage 14 video highlights



Stage 13 video highlights



Stage 12 video highlights



Stage 11 video highlights



Stage 10 video highlights



Stage nine video highlights



Stage eight video highlights



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