Lance didn't win, yet he emerged the better for it. At 37, he did something the Lance of 27 would not have done: He made sure his teammate won. He kept to the party line amidst the constant stream of media attention. He kept his cool. And when his teammate was secure in yellow, he put on some of the most impressive shows of cycling I have seen in a long time. Covering a 2 minute gap up a mountainside, not once, but twice, borders on the heroic.
Contador, Schleck, Hushovd, and Pellizotti are all champions. (Yellow, Youngest, Most Consistent - e.g. sprint, and King of the Mountains). Perhaps it is not fair that Lance get so much attention when he didn't win. Still, he really did emerge looking like a champion and a gentleman. What more could you ask for?