Tour de France: Updates From Local Sports Writer James Raia

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(Sacramento, CA)
Sunday, July 17, 2005

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There's seven stages left and Lance Armstrong is steadily solidifying his seventh straight Tour de France title. His team won the fourth stage team time trial and Armstrong has finished second in three stages. But he shows no sign of weakness with only two mountain stages remaining in the 92nd Tour de France.


After 14 stages in the 2005 Tour de France, the top 10 overall is as follows:1. Lance Armstrong (USA) DSC - 2,440km in 55h58’17" (43.32km/h)2. Mickael Rasmussen (Denmark) RAB - at 1’41"3. Ivan Basso (Italy) CSC - at 2’46"4. Jan Ullrich (Germany) TMO - at 4’34"5. Levi Leipheimer (USA) GST - at 4’45"6. Floyd Landis (USA) PHO - at 5’03"7. Francisco Mancebo (Spain) IBA - at 5’03"8. Andreas Kloden (Germany) TMO - at 5’38"9. Alexandre Vinokourov (Kazakstahn) TMO - at 7’09"10. Christophe Moreau (France) C.A - at 8’37" . . . Lance Armstrong has won a road stage in each of his Tour titles, with the exception  of 2000 when his won an individual time trial but not a road stage . . . With Levi Leipheimer in fifth place and Floyd Landis in sixth place overall, there's a chacnce for two Americans on the podium, which would be a first. Greg LeMond and Andy Hampsten finished first and fourth . . . Iker Flores remains the lanterne rouge and  is last among the 160 riders, trailing Lance Armstrong by 2 hours, 53 miutes and 59 seconds . . .T-Mobile leads the team competition with a 6 minute and 22 second advantage over CSC. Armstrong's Discovery Channel is fourth, trailing by 25:21


(DIGNE LES BAINS, France) -- The celebation of Bastille Day, the French Independence Day, was an international party in this small, old city.The fireworks Thursday night were expansive, and in a city plaza a crowd of perhaps 100 listened and danced to the music of Patchwork.The fab foursome, young french guys wearing outdated black English suits and bad mop wigs, was a cover band for the real Fab Four — the Beatles.The young musicians spoke to the audience in French. They had British flags as backdrops on their portable, elevated stage. And they sang on-key renditions of  Beatles' tunes in English.One song after another, the tunes kept the local crowd and two weary American journalists entertained.And for those interesting in future engagements, the band's French phone number was printed in faded block letters at the bottom on drummer's bass.
Here are the remaining 2005 Tour de France stages:
18 July: rest day 19 July: Stage 16, Mourenx – Pau – 177 km 20 July: Stage 17, Pau – Revel – 239 km 21 July: Stage 18, Albi – Mende – 189 km 22 July: Stage 19, Issoire – Le Puy-en-Velay – 154 km 23 July: Stage 20, Saint Etienne - 55 km (ITT)  24 July: Stage 21, Corbeil-Essonnes – Paris (Champs Elysees) – 160 km The Route Summary Beginning Saturday, July 2nd and continuing through Sunday, July 24, 2005, the 92nd Tour de France will have 21 stages and cover a total distance of 3,500 kilometres. The 21 stages will include: 9 flat stages, 3 medium mountain stages, 6 mountain stages, 2 individual time-trial stages, 1 team time-trial stage. Unique features will include: 3 mountain finishes, 2 rest days, 74 kilometres of individual time-trials, 66 kilometres of team time-trials, 1 transfer by plane and 1 by train, 20 Category 1, Category 2 and hors categorie passes will be climbed, 9 new stop-over towns: Fromentine, Noirmoutier-en-l'Ile, Les Essarts, La Châtaigneraie, Chambord, Gérardmer, Miramas, Agde et Lézat-sur-Lèze.