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Archive for Saturday, July 16, 2005

Armstrong takes lead to Pyrenees

Six-time Tour champion holds 38-second advantage

July 16, 2005

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— Lance Armstrong retained his overall lead in the Tour de France's flat, fast stage 13 on Friday, won by Robbie McEwen in a sprint.

Lance Armstrong pedals during the 13th stage of the Tour de France. Amstrong leads by a comfortable margin as the race heads to the Pyrenees.

Lance Armstrong pedals during the 13th stage of the Tour de France. Amstrong leads by a comfortable margin as the race heads to the Pyrenees.

The win was McEwen's third of this year's Tour. Armstrong and his main rivals finished together in the stage across southern France before the race heads into the Pyrenees on Saturday.

Armstrong's lead over second-place Mickael Rasmussen of Denmark stayed at 38 seconds, with French rider Christophe Moreau still third, 2:34 behind the six-time champion.

Italy's Ivan Basso remains 2:40 back, fourth overall. Jan Ullrich of Germany is 4:02 behind, but rose to eighth in the standings after Spain's Alejandro Valverde retired because of an injury. Valverde, winner of the first Alpine stage, had been fifth overall.

"Everybody is waiting" for the Pyrenees, said Armstrong, explaining why he and his rivals did not do battle over Friday's 107.8-mile trek from Miramas to Montpellier.

Ullrich was 25th, Armstrong 33rd, Rasmussen was 57th, and Basso was 72nd. They and McEwen all finished with the same time of 3 hours, 43 minutes, 14 seconds.

McEwen attributed his victory to his Davitamon-Lotto team, which helped reel in a group of riders that had escaped, setting the Australian sprinter up for his dash to the line.

"It's not a victory for McEwen, it's a victory for Davitamon-Lotto," he said. "Unbelievable."

The first of the three Pyrenean stages has five progressively harder climbs before finishing with a steep ascent to Ax-3 Domaines.

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