Some of you may know that in addition to a fondness for guns, I am somewhat of a bike weenie. I used to mountain bike an awful lot, and ride a sweet titanium Lightspeed Ocoee (reviews here). My daily road bike (which I commute to work on - yes, I am an evironmentalist even if I don't buy the crap that Greenpace, NRDC, the Sierra Club, or Waffles and Grits spews) is an old early 80s Masi (no, its not one of the aluminum pieces they are mass producing today, mine was handmade in Milan and is all steel).
Both brands, of course, have a notable history in the Tour de France. Masi's contributions are obvious (Fausto Coppi, Eddi Merckx) but Litespeed has also been a presence as well, most notably as the builder of Lance Armstrongs original time trial bikes (even though they carried Treks logos and Trek tried to quash the news) (Its also worth noting that American built Litespeeds are absent from the Tour this year due to Politics)
Anyway, Lance and the Postal team are off to a great start as he tries to win a record sixth straight Tour de France title!!! Armostrong and team won the fourth stage, a 40 mile team time trial in an amazing time of 1 hour 12 minutes and 3 seconds, leaving their nearest rivals over 1 minute behind. Of course, this is not something the Frogs wanted to see happen, especially this early in the competition.
The blue-clad Postal squad celebrated with hugs at the finish line. Armstrong raised his arms as he accepted the yellow jersey that in the past five years he has come to call his own.
Ullrich, the 1997 Tour winner, entered the race as Armstrong's most feared rival. His T-Mobile squad was more than a minute behind.
New rules designed to limit the advantage that top teams gain in the event protected Ullrich to some extent. In all, the German lost 40 seconds to Armstrong's team -- still a severe setback.
If your interested in keeping track of the action, velonews provides excellent real time coverage on its Live Tour page. General Tour information is available here.