"Some 6.5km from the top, with Virenque hanging onto a four minute lead, Beloki attacked, if you can call it that. It took Armstrong no more than a second or two to catch his wheel and go past at such velocity that the impression was of royalty spuring the vulgar. Within 3km, the American had opened a three-minute gap but he had let slip the chance to catch Virenque. Had he gone no more than a kilometre earlier, he would probably have nobbled him; as it was he was 2 mintues 20 seconds behind, bu another 1 minute 45 seconds up on Beloki who consigned any hope of overtaking Armstrong to dust: ‘We’ve been on the moon today and we’ve seen what the astronaut is capable of.’ Armstrong, whose time to the col, 58 minutes, beat Pantani’s 2000 record by 53 seconds, was stung by the chants and boos of a small number of beer-swillers at the roadside: ‘Dopé Dopé’ which is not French for one of the Seven Dwarfs, but nor is it anything other than the tattle of a moronic few more interested in ring-pulls than bike-racing. the American ignores the vast number of genuine fans cheering him on and instead he pillories the abusive idiots who shout louder. It’s a pity, but rage is one of his prime motivators, apparently. Even in speaking of popularity he reveals how thin his crust of self-believe is: ‘It’s sometimes frustrating. You see the guys they [the fans] accept and cherish and really love and cuddle and it’s the guys that in the group you say “I don’t ever want to be like that guy”. I want to be the guy that keeps his mouth shut…’ Pardon? Dwelling on the matter of popularity in his book, It’s Not About The Bike, he says that he is indifferent to being liked in general because ‘my wife likes me, my will like me’ - my italics, but a telling point. No one could possibly doubt Armstrong’s passion; but it is, in many ways, very two-dimensional."
— Graeme Fife, Tour De France: The History, The Legend, The Riders