The Tour de Lance continued today with some harrowing moments. With a little less than 10km to race Armstrong seized an opportunity to attack. Iban Mayo – the champion of the thousands of Basques who created an orange tunnel of enthusiasm on the final 13km climb – surged ahead of an elite troop which included all the riders at the top of the overall classification. Only Armstrong and Ullrich could repond. Lance led this trio around a sweeping right hand turn. The excitement generated by the race’s arrival prompted a child, watching from the side of the road, to throw his arms forward. A bag he carried caught the right of Armstrong’s bars and the rider in the yellow jersey went tumbling down. Mayo couldn’t escape the carnage, but Ullrich’s reaction was as swift as Lance’s when he managed to avoid the sprawling figure of Joseba Beloki at the end of stage eight.
Lance went down hard and like the 2001 Tour when Lance waited for Ullrich after he ran off the road and had mechanical trouble, Ullrich returned the favor and waited. When other riders in the lead group threatened to jump on the opportunity to make up time on the leader, former US Postal rider Tyler Hamilton rode to the front and put out his arms and chastised the other riders to wait for the leader. Hamilton and Ullrich proved themselves to be true sportsmen in one of the few sports left that features sportsmanship. The Tour remains the toughest physical test of ALL sporting events and the largest profile show of sportsmanship and honor among professional sports.