It's really all about pain.
The "real" Tour De France hit the alps today. The last 13 miles of the day went up to a ski lift.
Lance blew his main rivals absolutely away. He only took second ( same time as the winner) but he laid 2 minutes plus on his main rivals. So now he's got at least 3 minutes on his main rivals; though the mountain expert, Rasmussen, is only 38 seconds down.
Vinokourov, Ullrich, Basso, Mayo, Landis, Julich, et. al. Lance toasted them.
They now know they're fighting for second on the podium.
When you're in the Tour De France, it's really all about your ability to withstand pain.
Lance can stand pain; indeed.
For a really excellent story; read today's dailypeloton.com