2004 Tour de France

2004 Tour de France
Route of the 2004 Tour de France
Route of the 2004 Tour de France
Race details
Dates 3–25 July
Stages 20 + Prologue
Distance 3,391 km (2,107 mi)
Winning time 83h 36' 02"
  Winner Lance Armstrong none[a]
  Second  Andreas Klöden (GER) (T-Mobile Team)
  Third  Ivan Basso (ITA) (Team CSC)

Points  Robbie McEwen (AUS) (Lotto–Domo)
Mountains  Richard Virenque (FRA) (Quick-Step–Davitamon)
Youth  Vladimir Karpets (RUS) (Illes Balears–Banesto)
Combativity  Richard Virenque (FRA) (Quick-Step–Davitamon)
  Team T-Mobile Team
←  2003
2005 →

The 2004 Tour de France was a multiple stage bicycle race held from 3 to 25 July, and the 91st 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 confirmed this verdict.[3]

The event consisted of 20 stages over 3,391 km (2,107 mi). Armstrong had been favored to win, his competitors seen as being German Jan Ullrich, Spaniards Roberto Heras and Iban Mayo, and fellow Americans Levi Leipheimer and Tyler Hamilton. A major surprise in the Tour was the performance of French newcomer Thomas Voeckler, who unexpectedly won the yellow jersey as leader of the general classification in the fifth stage and held onto it for ten stages before finally losing it to Armstrong.

This Tour saw the mistreatment of Filippo Simeoni by Armstrong on Stage 18. Armstrong also made a "zip-the-lips" gesture on camera, apparently referencing Simeoni.

The route of the 2004 Tour was remarkable. With two individual time trials scheduled in the last week, one of them the climb of Alpe d'Huez, the directors were hoping for a close race until the end. For the first time in years, the mountains of the Massif Central made an appearance.


Team CSC during the team time trial on stage four

The first 14 teams in the UCI Road World Rankings at 31 January 2004 were automatically invited. Initially the organisers had an option for a 22nd team, which would be Kelme, but after Jesús Manzano exposed doping use in that team, Kelme was not invited,[4] and the race started with 21 teams of nine cyclists.[5]

The teams entering the race were:[6]

Qualified teams

Invited teams

Route and stages

The highest point of elevation in the race was 2,000 m (6,600 ft) at the summit of the Col de la Madeleine mountain pass on stage 17.[7][8]

Stage characteristics and winners [9] [10] [11] [12]
Stage Date Course Distance Type Winner
P 3 July Liège (Belgium) 6.1 km (3.8 mi) Individual time trial  Fabian Cancellara (SUI)
1 4 July Liège (Belgium) to Charleroi (Belgium) 202.5 km (125.8 mi) Plain stage  Jaan Kirsipuu (EST)
2 5 July Charleroi (Belgium) to Namur (Belgium) 197.0 km (122.4 mi) Plain stage  Robbie McEwen (AUS)
3 6 July Waterloo (Belgium) to Wasquehal 210.0 km (130.5 mi) Plain stage  Jean-Patrick Nazon (FRA)
4 7 July Cambrai to Arras 64.5 km (40.1 mi) Team time trial  U.S. Postal Service (USA)
5 8 July Amiens to Chartres 200.5 km (124.6 mi) Plain stage  Stuart O'Grady (AUS)
6 9 July Bonneval to Angers 196.0 km (121.8 mi) Plain stage  Tom Boonen (BEL)
7 10 July Châteaubriant to Saint-Brieuc 204.5 km (127.1 mi) Plain stage  Filippo Pozzato (ITA)
8 11 July Lamballe to Quimper 168.0 km (104.4 mi) Plain stage  Thor Hushovd (NOR)
12 July Limoges Rest day
9 13 July Saint-Léonard-de-Noblat to Guéret 160.5 km (99.7 mi) Plain stage  Robbie McEwen (AUS)
10 14 July Limoges to Saint-Flour 237.0 km (147.3 mi) Hilly stage  Richard Virenque (FRA)
11 15 July Saint-Flour to Figeac 164.0 km (101.9 mi) Hilly stage  David Moncoutié (FRA)
12 16 July Castelsarrasin to La Mongie 197.5 km (122.7 mi) Mountain stage  Ivan Basso (ITA)
13 17 July Lannemezan to Plateau de Beille 205.5 km (127.7 mi) Mountain stage  Lance Armstrong (USA)[a]
14 18 July Carcassonne to Nîmes 192.5 km (119.6 mi) Plain stage  Aitor González (ESP)
19 July Nîmes Rest day
15 20 July Valréas to Villard-de-Lans 180.5 km (112.2 mi) Mountain stage  Lance Armstrong (USA)[a]
16 21 July Le Bourg-d'Oisans to Alpe d'Huez 15.5 km (9.6 mi) Individual time trial  Lance Armstrong (USA)[a]
17 22 July Le Bourg-d'Oisans to Le Grand-Bornand 204.5 km (127.1 mi) Mountain stage  Lance Armstrong (USA)[a]
18 23 July Annemasse to Lons-le-Saunier 166.5 km (103.5 mi) Hilly stage  Juan Miguel Mercado (ESP)
19 24 July Besançon to Besançon 55.0 km (34.2 mi) Individual time trial  Lance Armstrong (USA)[a]
20 25 July Montereau-Fault-Yonne to Paris (Champs-Élysées) 163.0 km (101.3 mi) Plain stage  Tom Boonen (BEL)
Total 3,391 km (2,107 mi)[13]

Race overview

During this Tour de France the men who were delivering the drugs to riders had names like Alibaba, Asterix, Obelix[14]and Motoman.[15]


The 18th stage saw mistreatment of Filippo Simeoni by Lance Armstrong, after Simeoni had testified about doping and doctor Michele Ferrari.[16]

The book L. A. Confidentiel, by David Walsh and Pierre Ballester, came out shortly before the 2004 Tour, accusing Lance Armstrong of doping. Lance Armstrong and his lawyers asked for an emergency hearing in French court to insert a denial into the book. The French judge denied this request. Armstrong also launched defamation suits against the publisher and the authors, as well as magazine L'Express and UK newspaper The Sunday Times which both referenced it.[17][18][19]

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.[20][21] 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 2004 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.[22] Time bonuses given at the end of each mass start stage.[23] If a crash had happened within the final 3 km (1.9 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.[24] The rider with the lowest cumulative time was the winner of the general classification and was considered the overall winner of the Tour.[22] The rider leading the classification wore a yellow jersey.[25]

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.[22] The leader was identified by a green jersey.[25]

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.[26] The leader wore a white jersey with red polka dots.[25]

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 1979.[26] The leader wore a white jersey.[25]

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. The number of stage victories and placings per team determined the outcome of a tie.[26]

In addition, there was a combativity award given after each mass start stage to the rider considered, by a jury, to have "made the most effort and who has demonstrated the best sportsmanship".[26] The winner wore a blue number bib the following stage.[25] At the conclusion of the Tour, Richard Virenque (Quick-Step–Davitamon) was given the overall super-combativity award.[27] The Souvenir Henri Desgrange was given in honour of Tour founder Henri Desgrange to the first rider to pass the summit of the highest climb in the Tour, the Col de la Madeleine on stage 17. This prize was won by Gilberto Simoni.[28]

Final standings

Green jersey Denotes the leader of the points classification[25] Polka dot jersey Denotes the leader of the mountains classification[25]
White jersey Denotes the leader of the young rider classification[25] A white jersey with a red number bib. Denotes the winner of the super-combativity award[25]

General classification

Final general classification (1–10) [31]
Rank Rider Team Time
DSQ  Lance Armstrong (USA)[a] U.S. Postal Service 83h 36' 02"
2  Andreas Klöden (GER) T-Mobile Team + 6' 19"
3  Ivan Basso (ITA) Team CSC + 6' 40"
4  Jan Ullrich (GER) T-Mobile Team + 8' 50"
5  José Azevedo (POR) U.S. Postal Service + 14' 30"
6  Francisco Mancebo (ESP) Illes Balears–Banesto + 18' 01"
7  Georg Totschnig (AUT) Gerolsteiner + 18' 27"
8  Carlos Sastre (ESP) Team CSC + 19' 51"
DSQ  Levi Leipheimer (USA) Rabobank + 20' 12"
10  Óscar Pereiro (ESP) Phonak + 22' 54"

See also