Last mission to repair the Hubble telescope Hubble space telescope discoveries have enriched our understanding of the cosmos. In this special report, you will see facts about the Hubble space telescope, discoveries it has made and what the last mission's goals are.
For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
Fill out this form to email this article to a friend
Confident Armstrong easily maintains lead
Published July 20, 2005
PAU, France - The high mountains safely behind him, the finishing straight almost in sight, just one thing is missing as Lance Armstrong closes in on a seventh straight and last Tour de France title: a daily stage win of his own.
Even Armstrong, who doesn't like to tempt fate by claiming a win in advance, acknowledges that "the odds are good" that he'll have the winner's yellow jersey - the famed maillot jaune - on his back when he retires from cycling at the end of the race.
Completing the last of three days in the Pyrenees on Tuesday left just a mostly flat stage, two medium mountain stages and the time trial for Armstrong to negotiate before the final victorious pedal up Paris' Champs-Elysees.
Armstrong's main rivals, sensing that their chances of catching the American are slipping away, tried testing him again on two rigorous climbs during Tuesday's 16th stage from Mourenx to Pau.
But he brushed off the challenges, easily matching their uphill accelerations to defend his comfortable lead. He finished with his main rivals in a group behind stage winner Oscar Pereiro of Spain - and announced he was feeling better than ever.
Armstrong called it a "no-chain" day - meaning he felt so strong that it seemed as if his bicycle had no chain. Not bad for a 33-year-old who has ridden 1,746 miles through the north, east and south of France, over the Alps and Pyrenees, in the past two weeks.
"I don't have a real explanation but I felt amazing on the bike, totally confident," Armstrong said. "The big, big days and the big difficulties are done. Now we have to stay safe, stay conservative and look to the final time trial and try and close it out."
Pereiro completed Tuesday's 112.2-mile trek in 4 hours, 38 minutes, 40 seconds for his and his Swiss Phonak team's first win at the Tour. Armstrong, Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich and other top riders were 3:24 back.
Armstrong's lead over Basso, who is looking to improve on his third-place finish of last year, remains at 2:46. Mickael Rasmussen is third, 3:09 behind the six-time champion.
Ullrich, the 1997 Tour winner who is fourth overall, trails Armstrong by 5:58.
Ullrich, Basso and Alexandre Vinokourov were among those who put on uphill bursts of speed on Tuesday on the steep Col de Marie-Blanque and the longer ascent up to the Col d'Aubisque, the two hardest of four climbs. But Armstrong never looked troubled - even when his teammates couldn't match the pace.
"I'm feeling better and better every day," he said.
Pereiro's win made up for his disappointment in the 15th stage, when he placed second, beaten in a finishing sprint by Armstrong's Discovery Channel teammate, George Hincapie.