PLATEAU DE BEILLE, France – Clearing the path to a record sixth straight Tour de France (search) crown, Lance Armstrong (search) overpowered his rivals in the 13th stage Saturday to cement his place as one of cycling's greatest riders.
Only Italian rider Ivan Basso managed to stay with the five-time champion on the last of seven climbs in the Pyrenees (search). Others scattered down the mountain, their hopes of winning seemingly all but over.
With just the Alps and two time trials left to negotiate next week, only a meltdown by Armstrong or an unforeseen accident appeared to stand in the way of victory in Paris on July 25.
Armstrong won the stage ahead of Basso, overtaking him with a final burst of speed.