AX-3 DOMAINES, France -- Regardless of Lance Armstrong's form on the bike, the 15th stage of the Tour de France on Sunday will be a painful test as the six-time champion rides past the place where teammate Fabio Casartelli crashed and died 10 years ago.
"It's a very emotional moment every time we pass this
point," Armstrong said, looking ahead to paying his respects to
Italy's former Olympic champion, who was killed on the descent
of the Porte d'Aspet.
"It shows how time flies because it seems like only yesterday when we passed that point and saw him lying there,"
the American added.
Armstrong has often said that, next to the testicular cancer
which almost took his life, Casartelli's death was the worst
moment in his cycling career.
Three days after Casartelli's death, Armstrong, who was far
from a Tour de France contender at the time, won a stage in
Limoges and pointed to the sky in tribute to his deceased
"He was simply a great guy," Armstrong recalled, adding he
often visited Casartelli's wife and son, who was just a baby
when his father died.
"I don't like to be too public about it and give a press
conference every time I go, but I often visit his wife and son
when I'm in Italy. To see a 10-year-old boy who is like a carbon
copy of Fabio is really something," he said.
Casartelli was one of only three riders to die on the Tour
de France since the race began in 1903.
His parents and family will attend Sunday's stage in memory
of the Italian rider.