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Thursday, July 13, 2006
Stage 11 ends Discovery's chance of defending


PLA-DE-BERET, Spain -- The Discovery Channel team manager believes none of his proteges is going to succeed Lance Armstrong in the Tour de France's roll of honor after they all lagged in Stage 11 on Thursday.

Julich's Tour diary
It was great to see Americans Levi Leipheimer and Floyd Landis finish 2-3 in Stage 11. The only thing that surprised me Thursday was the performance of another American, George Hincapie.

• American Bobby Julich rides for Team CSC. To read more of his Tour de France diary and analysis of the American riders, click here.

"This is not going to be our Tour de France," said Johan Bruyneel.

"It's better to forget the overall standings. We should be looking for a stage winner."

The team's best-placed rider at the end of the five climbs sprinkling the 128-mile ride from Tarbes to Pla-de-Beret was Jose Azevedo.

The Portuguese was a distant 15th, 4:10 behind stage winner Denis Menchov of Russia.

Azevedo is now 18th overall, 7:27 adrift of new leader Floyd Landis of the United States.

American George Hincapie floundered and finished 21 minutes off the pace. He is now 40th in the overall standings, 23:01 behind Landis.

"For the overall standings, it's finished," said Hincapie.

"For the moment we haven't chosen a leader," said Bruyneel. "When you don't have a guy in the top 10, you can't have a leader."