Archive for Wednesday, June 20, 2001

Armstrong cruises in Suisse

Bicyclist claims victory in time trial prologue

June 20, 2001

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— Lance Armstrong easily won the time trial prologue of the Tour de Suisse, his final tuneup for an attempt at a third straight Tour de France title.

Armstrong needed 9 minutes, 44.22 seconds on Tuesday to complete the five-mile loop around the Europark theme park near Germany's border with Switzerland.

"It was difficult, there was a lot of wind," said Armstrong, who won a time trial bronze medal at the Sydney Olympics. "It felt like you were always on the brakes and then accelerating. To win a time trial you can't be weak. Mentally I'm focused and physically I'm there."

The 29-year-old Texan said he and wife, Kristin, are expecting twins.

Armstrong most likely will not try to win the Swiss tour, but test himself on the rugged climbs, in particular the time trial between Sion and Crans Montana in Switzerland. It is on such climbs that he won his Tour de France titles.

"I want to have a good race the first few days," Armstrong said. "But it's probably better if someone else wears the yellow jersey."

On Tuesday, the U.S. Postal Service team standout finished 5.13 seconds ahead of Laurent Jalabert of France.

Two of Armstrong's teammates finished in the top five Tyler Hamilton was third, 5.26 seconds behind, and Viatcheslav Ekimov of Russia was fourth, 5.35 behind.

"It's a great team," Armstrong said. "It's an important time of the year for us. It's our time."

The race begins in full today with a 110-mile leg to Switzerland.

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