2003 Tour de France

2003 Tour de France
Route of the 2003 Tour de France
Route of the 2003 Tour de France
Race details
Dates 5–27 July
Stages 20 + Prologue
Distance 3,427 km (2,129 mi)
Winning time 83h 41' 12"
  Winner Lance Armstrong none[a]
  Second  Jan Ullrich (GER) (Team Bianchi)
  Third  Alexander Vinokourov (KAZ) (Team Telekom)

Points  Baden Cooke (AUS) (FDJeux.com)
Mountains  Richard Virenque (FRA) (Quick-Step–Davitamon)
Youth  Denis Menchov (RUS) (iBanesto.com)
Combativity  Alexander Vinokourov (KAZ) (Team Telekom)
  Team Team CSC
←  2002
2004 →

The 2003 Tour de France was a multiple stage bicycle race held from 5 to 27 July, and the 90th edition of the Tour de France. It has no overall winner—although American cyclist Lance Armstrong originally won the event, the United States Anti-Doping Agency announced in August 2012 that they had disqualified Armstrong from all his results since 1998, including his seven Tour de France wins from 1999 to 2005; the Union Cycliste Internationale has confirmed this verdict.

The event started and ended in Paris, covering 3,427 km (2,129 mi) proceeding clockwise in twenty stages around France, including six major mountain stages. Due to the centennial celebration, this edition of the tour was raced entirely in France and did not enter neighboring countries.

In the centenary year of the race the route recreated, in part, that of 1903. There was a special Centenaire Classement prize for the best-placed in each of the six stage finishes which match the 1903 tour - Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Nantes and Paris. It was won by Stuart O'Grady, with Thor Hushovd in second place. The 2003 Tour was honored with the Prince of Asturias Award for Sport.

Of the 198 riders the favourite was again Armstrong, aiming for a record equalling fifth win. Before the race, it was believed that his main rivals would include Iban Mayo, Aitor González, Tyler Hamilton, Ivan Basso, Gilberto Simoni, Jan Ullrich, and Joseba Beloki but Armstrong was the odds-on favourite. Though he did go on to win the race, it is statistically, and by Armstrong's own admission,[3] his weakest Tour from his seven-year period of dominance over the race.


The team selection was done in three rounds: in November 2002, the fourteen highest-ranking Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) teams would automatically qualify; four wildcard invitations were given in January 2003, and four more in mid-May.[4] The race started with 21 teams of 9 cyclists.[5]

The teams entering the race were:[6]

Qualified teams

Invited teams

Pre-race favourites

Some notable cyclists excluded from the race were Mario Cipollini and Marco Pantani, whose teams De Nardi–Colpack and Mercatone Uno–Scanavino were not selected.[7] Especially the absence of Cipollini, the reigning world champion, came as a surprise. The Tour organisation gave the reason that Cipollini had never been able to finish the race.[8]

In the first round, the Coast team had been selected to compete, and in January 2003 they signed Jan Ullrich. Financial problems then almost prevented the team from starting, but after Bianchi stepped in as a new sponsor, Team Bianchi was allowed to take the place of Team Coast.

Route and stages

The highest point of elevation in the race was 2,642 m (8,668 ft) at the summit of the Col du Galibier mountain pass on stage 8.[9]

Stage characteristics and winners [10] [11] [12] [13]
Stage Date Course Distance Type Winner
P 5 July Paris 6.5 km (4.0 mi) Individual time trial  Bradley McGee (AUS)
1 6 July Saint-Denis to Meaux 168.0 km (104.4 mi) Flat stage  Alessandro Petacchi (ITA)
2 7 July La Ferté-sous-Jouarre to Sedan 204.5 km (127.1 mi) Flat stage  Baden Cooke (AUS)
3 8 July Charleville-Mézières to Saint-Dizier 167.5 km (104.1 mi) Flat stage  Alessandro Petacchi (ITA)
4 9 July Joinville to Saint-Dizier 69.0 km (42.9 mi) Team time trial  U.S. Postal Service (USA)
5 10 July Troyes to Nevers 196.5 km (122.1 mi) Flat stage  Alessandro Petacchi (ITA)
6 11 July Nevers to Lyon 230.0 km (142.9 mi) Flat stage  Alessandro Petacchi (ITA)
7 12 July Lyon to Morzine 230.5 km (143.2 mi) Mountain Stage (s)  Richard Virenque (FRA)
8 13 July Sallanches to Alpe d'Huez 219.0 km (136.1 mi) Mountain Stage (s)  Iban Mayo (ESP)
9 14 July Le Bourg-d'Oisans to Gap 184.5 km (114.6 mi) Mountain Stage (s)  Alexander Vinokourov (KAZ)
10 15 July Gap to Marseille 219.5 km (136.4 mi) Flat stage  Jakob Piil (DEN)
16 July Narbonne Rest day
11 17 July Narbonne to Toulouse 153.5 km (95.4 mi) Flat stage  Juan Antonio Flecha (ESP)
12 18 July Gaillac to Cap Découverte 47.0 km (29.2 mi) Individual time trial  Jan Ullrich (GER)
13 19 July Toulouse to Ax 3 Domaines 197.5 km (122.7 mi) Mountain Stage (s)  Carlos Sastre (ESP)
14 20 July Saint-Girons to Loudenvielle 191.5 km (119.0 mi) Mountain Stage (s)  Gilberto Simoni (ITA)
15 21 July Bagnères-de-Bigorre to Luz Ardiden 159.5 km (99.1 mi) Mountain Stage (s)  Lance Armstrong (USA)[a]
22 July Pau Rest day
16 23 July Pau to Bayonne 197.5 km (122.7 mi) Hilly stage  Tyler Hamilton (USA)
17 24 July Dax to Bordeaux 181.0 km (112.5 mi) Flat stage  Servais Knaven (NED)
18 25 July Bordeaux to Saint-Maixent-l'École 203.5 km (126.4 mi) Flat stage  Pablo Lastras (ESP)
19 26 July Pornic to Nantes 49.0 km (30.4 mi) Individual time trial  David Millar (GBR)
20 27 July Ville-d'Avray to Paris (Champs-Élysées) 152.0 km (94.4 mi) Flat stage  Jean-Patrick Nazon (FRA)
Total 3,427 km (2,129 mi)[14]

Race overview

Laiseka, Basso, Hamilton, Armstrong, Beloki and Zubeldia riding up to Alpe d'Huez on the eighth stage

The Tour proved to be one more hotly contested than the previous years. Tyler Hamilton and Levi Leipheimer were involved in a crash early in the Tour. Leipheimer dropped out, Hamilton continued and got fourth place in the end while riding with a broken collarbone.

In the Alps, Gilberto Simoni and Stefano Garzelli, first and second in the Giro d'Italia earlier the same year, could not keep up with Lance Armstrong and the other favourites. The same held for last year's number 4, Santiago Botero. Joseba Beloki could, and was in second-place overall (just 40 seconds behind Armstrong) when he crashed on a fast descent from the Cote de La Rochette, shortly after passing the Col de Manse into Gap.[15] The crash was a result of a locked brake, caused by a lack of traction from melting tar on the road, which led to the tyre coming off the rim.[16] Beloki broke his right femur, elbow and wrist, and had to leave the Tour.[17] Armstrong made a detour through the field beside the road to avoid the fallen Beloki. Armstrong was in yellow, but Jan Ullrich won the first time trial by one minute and 36 seconds. He and Alexander Vinokourov were both within very short distance from Armstrong.[18]


Subsequent to Armstrong's statement to withdraw his fight against United States Anti-Doping Agency's (USADA) charges, on 24 August 2012, the USADA said it would ban Armstrong for life and stripped him of his record seven Tour de France titles.[19][20] Later that day it was confirmed in a USADA statement that Armstrong was banned for life and would be disqualified from any and all competitive results obtained on and subsequent to 1 August 1998, including forfeiture of any medals, titles, winnings, finishes, points and prizes.[1] On 22 October 2012, the Union Cycliste Internationale endorsed the USADA sanctions, and decided not to award victories to any other rider or upgrade other placings in any of the affected events.[2]

Classification leadership and minor prizes

There were four main individual classifications contested in the 2003 Tour de France, as well as a team competition. The most important was the general classification, which was calculated by adding each rider's finishing times on each stage.[21] There were time bonuses given at the end of each mass start stage.[22] If a crash had happened within the final 1 km (0.6 mi) of a stage, not including time trials and summit finishes, the riders involved would have received the same time as the group they were in when the crash occurred.[23] The rider with the lowest cumulative time was the winner of the general classification and was considered the overall winner of the Tour. The rider leading the classification wore a yellow jersey.[24]

The second classification was the points classification. Riders received points for finishing in the highest positions in a stage finish, or in intermediate sprints during the stage. The points available for each stage finish were determined by the stage's type.[25] The leader was identified by a green jersey.[24]

The third classification was the mountains classification. Most stages of the race included one or more categorised climbs, in which points were awarded to the riders that reached the summit first. The climbs were categorised as fourth-, third-, second- or first-category and hors catégorie, with the more difficult climbs rated lower.[25] The leader wore a white jersey with red polka dots.[24]

The final individual classification was the young rider classification. This was calculated the same way as the general classification, but the classification was restricted to riders who were born on or after 1 January 1977.[25] The leader wore a white jersey.[24]

The final classification was a team classification. This was calculated using the finishing times of the best three riders per team on each stage; the leading team was the team with the lowest cumulative time.[25]

There was special classification, the Centenaire, which combined times of riders across the six stages involving cities visited during 1903 Tour. The cities were: Lyon, on stage 6; Marseille, on stage 10; Toulouse, on stage 11; Bordeaux, on stage 17; Nantes, on stage 19; and Paris, on stage 20.[22]

In addition, there was a combativity award given after each mass start stage to the rider considered, by a jury, to have "shown the greatest effort and demonstrated the greatest sporting spirit".[26] The winner wore a red number bib the following stage.[24] At the conclusion of the Tour, Alexander Vinokourov (Team Telekom) won the overall super-combativity award.[27]

There were also two special awards each with a prize of €5000, the Souvenir Henri Desgrange, given in honour of Tour founder and first race director Henri Desgrange to the first rider to pass the summit of the Col du Galibier on stage 8, and the Souvenir Jacques Goddet, given in honour of the second director Jacques Goddet to the first rider to pass the summit of the Col du Tourmalet on stage 15.[28] Stefano Garzelli won the Henri Desgrange and Sylvain Chavanel won the Jacques Goddet.[29][30]

Final standings

Green jersey Denotes the leader of the points classification Polka dot jersey Denotes the leader of the mountains classification
White jersey Denotes the leader of the young rider classification A white jersey with a red number bib. Denotes the winner of the super-combativity award

General classification

Final general classification (1–10) [33]
Rank Rider Team Time
DSQ  Lance Armstrong (USA)[a] U.S. Postal Service 83h 41' 12"
2  Jan Ullrich (GER) Team Bianchi + 1' 01"
3  Alexander Vinokourov (KAZ) A white jersey with a red number bib. Team Telekom + 4' 14"
4  Tyler Hamilton (USA) Team CSC + 6' 17"
5  Haimar Zubeldia (ESP) Euskaltel–Euskadi + 6' 51"
6  Iban Mayo (ESP) Euskaltel–Euskadi + 7' 06"
7  Ivan Basso (ITA) Fassa Bortolo + 10' 12"
8  Christophe Moreau (FRA) Crédit Agricole + 12' 28"
9  Carlos Sastre (ESP) Team CSC + 18' 49"
10  Francisco Mancebo (ESP) iBanesto.com + 19' 15"

Centenaire classification

Final centenaire classification (1–10) [38]
Rank Rider Team Points
1  Stuart O'Grady (AUS) Crédit Agricole 82
2  Thor Hushovd (NOR) Crédit Agricole 86
3  Fabrizio Guidi (ITA) Team Bianchi 103
4  Luca Paolini (ITA) Quick-Step–Davitamon 118
5  Gerrit Glomser (AUT) Saeco Macchine per Caffè 123
6  Jan Ullrich (GER) Bianchi 165
7  Damien Nazon (FRA) Brioches La Boulangère 169
8  Baden Cooke (AUS) FDJeux.com 184
9  Bradley McGee (AUS) FDJeux.com 188
10  Christophe Moreau (FRA) Crédit Agricole 210