Lance Armstrong Dispatches "Syringe Man" On Palomar Mountain
In the final stage of the Tour Of California 2009, Lance Armstrong pulled off a move that I suspect he (or any competitive cyclist) has been wanting to perform since he was taken down by a fan's lanyard grabbing his handlebar on an uphill stage in the sixth of his seven Tour de France wins.
Syringe Man as he was overtaken by the peloton in Stage 8 in the Tour of California. Image Credit: Diabo moderno
An exhibitionist fan dressed up in a black and yellow costume and carrying an apparatus that resembled two syringes on a stick (people have dubbed "Syringe Man"), was running along side of the peloton on snow covered Palomar Mountain. The man was alone and presented a hazard to the riders as they made their way up the mountain as he was alone and looking as if he were running in an unpredictable manner.
The grab! Image Credit: Diabo moderno
Syringe Man in snow bank. Image Credit: Diabo moderno
As the Peloton, led by Lance Armstrong's Astana Cycling Team team mates passed by the fan, Lance Armstrong helped "Syringe Man" out of the way and deposited him in a snowbank at the side of the road - hazard dispatched!
Syringe Man struggles to get up. Image Credit: Diabo moderno
This excerpted and edited from Amgen Tour Of California -
Herbalife Play by Play
Feb. 22, 2009 17:46:41
We saved the best for last at the 2009 Amgen Tour of California. Stage 8 was the Queen's stage, the most difficult of the race. It was a 96.8-mile pedal from Rancho Bernardo to Escondido, which was the first time the race has traveled to San Diego County.
The route included four California Travel & Tourism King of the Mountains climbs, none bigger than the fearsome Palomar Mountain, an above categorization climbs that peaks at 5123 feet, the highest summit ever reached in the Tour.
With two-time defending champion Levi Leipheimer (AST) in the leader's tunic, an abundance of attacks were expected in a final effort to claim the yellow jersey. An early break was established, but eventually collapsed on Palomar Mountain where an elite group formed including Leipheimer and his closest rivals – David Zabriskie (GRM) and Michael Rogers (THR).
On the descent four riders formed a new move, which then slimmed down to duo consisting of Frank Schleck (SAX) and Vincenzo Nibali (LIQ). The pair made it over the final KOM climb of the race on the testing Cole Grade and motored towards the finish on the valley floor while the Astana-powered peloton kept the gap close to preserve Leipheimer's overall victory.
After rounding the final corner, Schleck made his move and pulled away for the stage win ahead of Nibali. George Hincapie (THR) won the pack gallop to claim 3rd place for the day.
The top three positions on the General Classification held up:
Leipheimer followed by Zabriskie (36 seconds) and Rogers (45 seconds).
Tonight Leipheimer celebrates his Amgen Tour of California three-peat and his Team Astana toasts the Team victory. After winning back-to-back stages earlier in the week, Mark Cavendish (THR) takes home the Herbalife Sprint jersey. Jason McCartney (SAX) climbed his way to the California Travel & Tourism King of the Mountains title. For the third consecutive year, Robert Gesink (RAB) leaves the Golden State with the Rabobank Best Young Rider jersey in his suitcase.