Surprised that Ullrich Tried to Breakaway on an Intermediate Mountain Again

Lance Armstrong sprinted away from Ivan Basso in the last 400 meters to Villard de Lans, probably taking the yellow jersey for good in this year's Tour de France. I was a little surprised at the move Jan Ullrich made on the Col de l'Echarasson early in the stage. It reminded me of the move he made on the Col de Tourmalet on Stage 15 last year: surprising to some, but ultimately futile.

Armstrong is a completely different rider this year than he was last year. With the exception of Stage 15 in 2003, he didn't seem to be able to put the hammer down by himself on a climb. This year, Jose Azevedo sets him up as Roberto Heras did last year, but, he is able to work more intensely at lower levels and drop off earlier than Heras could.

It's frustrating to see so many top riders drop out of the Tour; Iban Mayo is the latest to go. His team says he may have a virus. Regardless, his spirit was broken.