Analysts Learn Stage Isn't Over Until It's Over There was so much certainty in Phil Liggett's voice yesterday as he declared Andreas Klden the winner of Stage 17 of the Tour de France that a viewer was tempted to wonder if Liggett, an Outdoor Life Network announcer, has not recognized that after winning five consecutive Tours, Lance Armstrong can do what he wants when he wishes.
With the finish line nearly in sight, Klden bolted from the lead pack and Liggett said unequivocally: ''The race just got won here by Andreas Klden. It's all over.'' oakley store usa The race wasn't over yet, but Liggett said that Klden ''is about to get a stage win here.'' With even less time to go, he added, ''Klden doesn't have a lot left, but it's enough to win this stage.'' No doubt, he said, Klden would get the 20 second bonus for winning. It was an incredible gaffe oakley straight jacket polarized by Liggett, who was then compelled by reality, not hasty clairvoyance, to make this final call: ''The man in yellow is running at him with the usual determination. Ullrich in the slipstream. Armstrong is coming with an incredible rush and Klden has realized it is too late. Is there any stopping Lance Armstrong in this Tour de France? And the answer is no, there is not.'' Armstrong's victory in the 0akley sunglasses final 100 meters gave him an overall lead of 4 minutes 9 seconds and makes him, barring a catastrophe, the probable winner of his sixth successive Tour on Sunday. ''He's a beast of a man,'' Sherwen said of Ullrich, high in his saddle, ready to take control and put Armstrong in his place. But even after admitting that Ullrich ultimately could not attack because of pressure by Armstrong's United States Postal Service team, Liggett said that ''Ullrich is the man to beat'' and that Klden would be the ''pacemaker for Jan Ullrich to win the stage.'' Armstrong's almost unprecedented dominance has turned him into one of the word's most famous athletes and personalities. The transformation is stunning because cycling, at least in the United States, is a niche sport. But Armstrong's success and his recovery from cancer have given cycling a much higher profile in America. And he is enjoying the spoils of being a symbol of athletic excellence and cancer survival. His numerous and lucrative endorsements usually the domain of mainstream sports stars total upwards of $17 million a year, said Bob Williams, the president of Burns Sports and Celebrities, which matches athletes and entertainers with advertisers. Those earnings do not vault him near Tiger Woods (at about $75 million, Williams said), although they do put him close to the retired Michael Jordan ($25 million). Newsletter Sign Up ''He has broken out of the traditional guidelines of being a successful sports endorser,'' Williams said. ''You almost always need to be in a sport with lots of fans in attendance and with big ratings.'' Armstrong's stable of endorsements include Nike (the most, at $8 million annually), Subaru, Trek bicycles, Power Bar, Bristol Myers Squibb, Oakley sunglasses, Shimano bike components and Giro cycling helmets On OLN, it is nearly impossible to escape commercials that star Armstrong. When he steps out of a Subaru, he says, ''My work here is done.'' He talks about drugs made by Bristol Myers Squibb during his recovery from testicular cancer. The Postal Service team appears in a commercial in which the members deliver the mail. Power Bar, ''the fuel of Lance,'' sponsors a commercial free half hour on the Tour telecasts and the ''Live Like Lance'' sweepstakes. Trek, which supplies Armstrong's Madone SL and Madone SSL bicycles, is promoting its ''Ride With Lance'' contest. ''When people say, 'What is our marketing effort?,' I say, 'Lance is our marketing effort,''' where can i buy oakley sunglasses said Zap Espinoza, the brand manager for Trek, which is based in Waterloo, Wis. ''Lance means everything to our company. We've been with him for every Tour victory.'' The bicycles that Armstrong has used in the past have always been available for sale to everyday customers, Espinoza said, and the ones he is now riding will be available soon. One costs $4,800, the other $7,500. As Armstrong raced yesterday, Espinoza said, about 100 Trek employees were stationed in front of a big screen television. ''When he came across the finish line, we all erupted in cheers,'' he said.
''What he means here can't be quantified.'' Armstrong's success has also meant a huge boost for OLN, which is carrying the Tour for the fourth year. Ryan will call equestrian events on Bravo, one of the NBC Universal networks carrying the Olympics.
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