LEADVILLE, COLO. Lance Armstrong can’t remember the last time he raced 65 miles by himself.
“I don’t know, maybe when I was a young, young kid,” he said. “You would never do that on the Tour, so none of the Tours I won. Quite literally in those Tours, excluding time trials, I probably rode alone for 20 miles. ... It’s been a long time since I was time trialing for that long.”
So strong was Armstrong on Saturday that he left the rest of the field in the mud just 35 miles into the lung-searing Leadville 100 mountain bike race, winning the nation’s highest-altitude endurance test in record time.
Despite racing through freezing rain at the start, which made it difficult to shift gears on the foreboding descents on a flat back tire for the final 10 miles, Armstrong shaved nearly 17 minutes off the record, winning in 6 hours, 28 minutes, 50 seconds.
He dethroned six-time defending champion Dave Wiens, who came in second in 6:57:01 a year after holding off the seven-time Tour de France champ by about two minutes.
“He’s Lance Armstrong. And he’s just off of the Tour,” Wiens said. “Last year he was just off of the couch. That made it a pretty fair fight for he and I. This year I rode fantastic today. I’m happy.
“He killed it. He got away from Ben Sonntag and time trialed it for 65 miles.”
Last year, Wiens won in a record time of 6:45:45, but that was before Armstrong began training in earnest for his return to the Tour this year.
The race featured 1,400 mostly amateur cyclists and began with snow-crested peaks as a backdrop.
Roddick out in Montreal
Montreal — Britain’s Andy Murray defeated Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France, and Juan Martin Del Potro ousted Andy Roddick in the semifinals of the Rogers Cup on Saturday. Murray ousted the seventh-seeded Tsonga, 6-4, 7-6 (8), and Del Potro beat Roddick, 4-6, 6-2, 7-5.
Safina reaches final
Mason, Ohio — Dinara Safina needed only 56 minutes to eliminate Italy’s Flavia Pennetta, 6-2, 6-0, on Saturday. She’ll play Serbia’s Jelena Jankovic for the championship of the $2 million Western & Southern Financial Group Women’s Open. Jankovic defeated Elena Dementieva , 7-6, (2), 0-6, 7-6 (6).
Brooklyn, Mich. — Brad Keselowski swooped past Brian Vickers and Kyle Busch to take the lead in the final turn Saturday, then held on to win the Nationwide series race at Michigan International Speedway.
Keselowski took two tires on his final pit stop, then took advantage of a furious battle for the lead between Vickers and Busch on the last lap. Vickers finished second and Busch third, and they exchanged some heated words on pit road afterward.
“Brian was doing what he needed to do to win the race, and just kind of got snookered by us in the end,” Keselowski said.
It was a rough afternoon for Carl Edwards, whose hopes of a championship in NASCAR’s second-tier series took a hit when he crashed early.
Busch and Vickers pitted with most of the lead-lap cars after a caution with 20 laps to go. They lined up in the second row for the restart behind Justin Allgaier, who stayed on the track, and Keselowski, who took only two tires, for a 12-lap dash to the finish.
Busch immediately took the lead when Vickers got hung up behind Allgaier, but came back to challenge and the two were side-by-side when another caution came out with 10 laps left.
TRACK AND FIELD
Bolt, Gay cruise into semis
Berlin — Smiling and joking, Usain Bolt cruised into the semifinals of the 100 meters of the world championships. Sprinting in earnest to test his groin, Tyson Gay did the same, setting up the prospect of a showdown in today’s final.
Bolt, the three-time Olympic champion from Jamaica, and Gay, the three-time world champion from the United States, proved they are in shape for the most anticipated race of the year.
Gay won his quarterfinal in 9.98 seconds, and Bolt cruised in at 10.03, finishing second in his heat.
Villanova guard booted
Villanova, Pa. — Villanova guard Reggie Redding has been kicked off the team for the fall semester two weeks after being charged with possession of marijuana.
School officials say Redding will remain enrolled in classes and could return to the team in late December if coach Jay Wright and the athletic department approve.
Redding was charged July 31 with possession of a small amount of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia, both misdemeanors. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Sept. 8.
Redding started 22 games last season and averaged 7.1 points, 4.9 rebounds and 3.1 assists as the Wildcats advanced to the Final Four.
Two Badgers suspended
Madison, Wis. — Wisconsin has suspended safeties Aubrey Pleasant and Shane Carter. Head coach Bret Bielema did not say in his statement on Saturday why the two seniors were being suspended. Both players have been an integral part of the Badgers’ defense.
The 6-foot-1 Pleasant has made 80 career tackles over 14 starts and was listed beside safety Jay Valai for a starting slot on the most recent depth chart.
Georgia Tech QB injured
Atlanta — Georgia Tech backup quarterback Jaybo Shaw will miss at least the start of the season after breaking a collarbone during Saturday’s scrimmage.
Head coach Paul Johnson said Shaw was expected to miss six to eight weeks. Johnson said it was too early to speculate on the possibility that Shaw could miss the season as a redshirt after playing as a true freshman in 2008.
Ex-player guilty of fraud
Houston — Former NBA player Grant Gondrezick has pleaded guilty in a mortgage fraud case that involved the sale of 24 homes in Houston suburbs.
U.S. Attorney Tim Johnson announced the plea by the 45-year-old Gondrezick on Friday. The former Houston resident faces up to five years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and more $1 million in restitution for conspiring to commit wire fraud.
Former Houston Rockets player Dirk Minniefield also was charged in the case as a participating real estate agent. The 48-year-old Minniefield and two other defendants have pleaded not guilty to charges in the case. They’re scheduled for trial next year.
Phelps has sore ankle
Baltimore — Swimmer Michael Phelps is still nursing a sore ankle from the car accident he was in Thursday, but the Olympic gold medalist intends to resume training Monday. In a message on his official Facebook site, Phelps said he was ‘fine,’ and expressed concern for the woman involved in the car crash.
The accident was not Phelps’ fault and was caused by the woman who ran a red light, police said.