Tour de France: Armstrong relaxes before Alps

19th July 2004, Comments 0 comments

19 July 2004PARIS - Lance Armstrong relaxed on the Tour de France's second rest day Monday safe in the knowledge that Ivan Basso of Italy is virtually the only man that stands between him and a record- breaking sixth Tour win in succession. Meanwhile Germany's Jan Ullrich languishes in eighth place.

19 July 2004

PARIS - Lance Armstrong relaxed on the Tour de France's second rest day Monday safe in the knowledge that Ivan Basso of Italy is virtually the only man that stands between him and a record- breaking sixth Tour win in succession. Meanwhile Germany's Jan Ullrich languishes in eighth place.

After demolishing all his opposition bar Basso in Friday and Saturday's mountain stages in the Pyrenees, Armstrong finished in the peloton in Sunday's flat stage from Carcassonne to Nimes.

The stage was won by Spain's Aitor Gonzalez and left Armstrong in second place, trailing France's Thomas Voeckler in the yellow jersey by just 22 seconds.

Basso is 1:39 minutes behind Voeckler while Germany's Jan Ullrich languishes 7:01 minutes adrift of the Frenchman in eighth place. Tyler Hamilton, the man who finished fourth in last year's Tour despite having a broken collarbone gave up midway through Saturday's 12th stage.

Riders will use Monday's rest day to relax, treat injuries and prepare for the next three days in the Alps and especially for Wednesday's much anticipated individual time trial from Bourg d'Oissans to L'Alpe d'Huez, the first mountain time trial on the Tour since the one up Mont Ventoux in 1987.

Those riders looking to survive, such as the sprinters going for the green points jersey, will be dreading the stage as they face the prospect of being eliminated should they finish outside the time cut.

The first Alpine stage Tuesday is the 180.5km long stage from Valreas to Villard-de-Lans and involves seven climbs, including the ascent of the Col de l'Echarasson.

DPA

Subject: German news

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