Here are some clips from today's Tour de France stage newsflashes from the official site of the Tour de France.
16 H 59 - Armmstrong Attacks
With 3km to climb, Armstrong has decided that it's time to attack. He is being followed by Basso. Up ahead is Sastre, but we don't have a time check at this stage.
17 H 00 - Basso Matches Armstrong
Lance is out of the saddle and pedaling his rapid cadence in pursuit of Sastre. The team-mate of the stage leader, Basso is still seated and is matching the effort of the US Postal rider easily.
17 H 05 - Basso & Armstrong In Final Kilometer
Ivan Basso and Lance Armstrong are now less than 1km from the end of the stage. Kloden has caught Sastre and in 5th place is Mancebo.
17 H 07 - Lance & Ivan Side By Side...
With 500m to go, Armstrong and Basso are side by side. Lance is driving the pace and Ivan is matching him while still sitting in the saddle...
17 H 08 - Basso Comes Forward
Ivan Basso is now attacking and chasing the stage win. It seems that Armstrong is content with 2nd...
17 H 08 - Ivan Basso Wins Stage 12!
Ivan Basso has beaten Lance Armstrong to win the 12th stage of the 2004 Tour de France.
17 H 17 - Lance Into 2nd Overall...
Lance's second place is enough to push him up to 2nd place overall, 5'24" behind Thomas. The complete top 10 will be posted as soon as it's been caulculated.
Can you feel the excitement?! It's about time that something fun, interesting, and exciting happens in this year's Tour, besides a bunch of crashes. Nobody likes a crash. But we all like to watch a champion move ever closer to grand victory.
I have to mention the current overall standings, besides the fact that Armstrong moved up to 2nd place. The German legend, Jan Ullrich, lost 2 minutes and 30 seconds to Armstrong today. Woah... this could be serious. Remember that last year Armstrong won only by 1 minute - over the entire 3-week race! Now, this surely doesn't rule Ullrich out of contention. But it does make one wonder whether Ullrich really couldn't hang with Armstrong or whether Ullrich is, in his usual fashion, holding his cards so close to his face that he has to peer at them with crossed eyes. Perhaps this Ullrich character is so sure of his eventual victory that he didn't mind losing the time to Armstrong because he knows that he'll make it up by leaving Armstrong behind in a future stage? Well, I seriously doubt that, because I can't see why anyone would even considering allowing Armstrong an extra nanosecond, let alone 2 minutes and 30 seconds. He's closed further gaps many a time. It is fun to consider what's going on in their heads though, isn't it?
Tomorrow's stage, #13, should be a good one. And I hope it is because I would love nothing more than the chance to scream and cheer at the movie screen with a bunch of Tour de France fans while an exciting stage unfolds in the Pyrenees. It's gotta be better than stifling my cheers and high-fives while reading newsflash updated on the Web at my desk at work.