The cycling world was poised for Lance Armstrong to return to the yellow jersey after a 4-year hiatus today, but he missed by .18 of a second. You have to wonder if Alberto Contador didn’t quite give 100 percent, knowing a TT win would put Lance in the center of the cycling universe. Lance and Alberto teammate Levi Leipheimer tweeted after the TT that Astana’s win showed how together the team really is. But the mere fact Levi has to raise the issue shows that the truth isn’t that simple.
Although it won’t get noticed much, the real story is Fabian Cancellara’s monster pull at the end of the time trial, with team members struggling just to keep his wheel. It saved him the yellow jersey, deprived Lance of his dream. But Lance will be happy to have the spotlight focused on him even with the near-miss, and the whole thing helps prime interest in this year’s Tour.