Tour de France: Ullrich hopes to take on Armstrong in mountains

13th July 2004, Comments 0 comments

13 July 2004 , ST LEONARD DE NOBLAT - The ninth stage of the 2004 Tour de France got underway Tuesday with Germany's Jan Ullirch hoping to tackle American rival Lance Armstrong's lead when the race moves into more mountains conditions.

13 July 2004

ST LEONARD DE NOBLAT - The ninth stage of the 2004 Tour de France got underway Tuesday with Germany's Jan Ullirch hoping to tackle American rival Lance Armstrong's lead when the race moves into more mountains conditions.

Young Frenchman Thomas Voeckler began the stage in the yellow jersey of the race leader, with five-time champion Lance Armstrong in sixth place, 9:35 minutes behind.

Going for an unprecedented sixth Tour victory, the 32-year-old Armstrong has small leads over his most dangerous rivals, fellow American Tyler Hamilton and Ullrich.

Ullrich trails Armstrong by 55 seconds But said one of Ullrich's assistants that after the mountains Ullrich might be able to build a lead of minutes.

The ninth stage also began with a reduced field after two riders were barred because of doping.

Italian Stefano Casagranda and Martin Hvastija of Slovenia were kicked out of the race on Monday because they are both under formal investigation in Italy for the use of banned substances.

The remaining 174 riders will tackle the shortest course of this year's Tour outside of time trials, 160.5 km from St. Leonard de Noblat to Gueret in the centre of the country.

Following Monday's rest day, the stage is a transition between the first week's flat courses and the upcoming mountain stages, as it traverses undulating, hilly terrain but presents only two modest climbs.

[Copyright DPA with Expatica]

Subject: German news

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