Tour de France: Armstrong wins stage 15

20th July 2004, Comments 0 comments

20 July 2004, VILLARD DE LANS - Five-time champion Lance Armstrong won Tuesday's 15th stage of the 2004 Tour de France and took over the yellow jersey of the race leader for the 61st time in his career.

20 July 2004

VILLARD DE LANS - Five-time champion Lance Armstrong won Tuesday's 15th stage of the 2004 Tour de France and took over the yellow jersey of the race leader for the 61st time in his career.

Armstrong covered the 180.5-km course from Valreas to Villard de Lans in the French Alps in 4:40.30 hours, to take his second stage win of this year's Tour and the 18th of his career.

He finished just ahead of Italian Ivan Basso, with Jan Ullrich of Germany finishing third, 3 seconds adrift.

Frenchman Thomas Voeckler, who had led Armstrong by 22 seconds in the overall standings, finished more than 9 minutes behind and lost the yellow jersey, which he had worn for 10 days and defended valiantly in the Pyrenees.

Armstrong now leads Basso by 1:25 mins overall, with Andreas Kloeden of Germany in third, at 3:22.

Ullrich surprised Armstrong by taking off on his own on the stage's toughest climb, the first-category Col d'Echarasson. But Armstrong's US Postal team and Basso's CSC worked together to haul in the German.

Asked if he was stunned by Ullrich's attack, Armstrong replied, "No, we knew the course very well and we knew all the mountains. So there was no reason to panic."

If Armstrong is able to defend the yellow jersey until the race's end, on 25 July in Paris, he will become the first man to win the Tour de France six times. However, he refused to say that the Tour was as good as his.

"It's not finished. "Ivan (Basso) was strong again, and I think he will ride a very good race tomorrow."

Wednesday's 16th stage is a grueling individual time trial of 15.5 km up the legendary Alpe d'Huez mountain with its 21 hairpin turns and an average gradient of 7.9 percent. One million spectators are expected to be on hand for the stage.

DPA

Subject: German news

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