American Landis succeeds Armstrong with Tour victory

24th July 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, July 23, 2006 (AFP) - American Floyd Landis won the Tour de France here following the 20th and final stage Sunday to succeed compatriot Lance Armstrong.

PARIS, July 23, 2006 (AFP) - American Floyd Landis won the Tour de France here following the 20th and final stage Sunday to succeed compatriot Lance Armstrong.

Landis came over the finish line of the race's final stage, held over 154km between Antony and the Champs Elysées, after the victory of Norwegian Thor Hushovd.

Hushovd, of Crédit Agricole, surged to his second stage win of the race, after his prologue victory, after outsprinting Australian Robbie McEwen 100 metres before the finish line.

Another Australian, Stuart O'Grady of CSC, finished third on the stage just ahead of the bunch.

Landis, 30, becomes the third winner of the race from the United States but dedicated his victory to the Phonak team manager Andy Rihs.

"Right now the plan is to come back next year and defend the jersey but this one should be dedicated to Andy Rihs," he said.

"He's been through some hard times and was behind us all the way."

Greg LeMond was the first American to win the yellow jersey in 1986 and the first American to win it three times having also triumphed in 1989 and 1990.

Armstrong's seven-year reign as the race champion came to an end last year when he retired from the sport.

Landis won the race with a lead of 57sec on Spaniard Oscar Pereiro of Caisse d'Épargne.

Pereiro had been leading the Tour with a 30sec lead on Landis on the penultimate stage time trial.

However the American produced a convincing performance over 57km of the race's second and final race against the clock on Saturday to take the yellow jersey for the third time in the race.

Landis's bid to succeed his former US Postal teammate Armstrong looked dead and buried when he lost the yellow jersey after tumbling to 11th place overall at 8min 08sec behind Pereiro on a disastrous stage 16.

However, the next day the American capped a daring solo raid over five cols to claim his first ever stage victory on the Tour and move to within 30sec of the yellow jersey.

Pereiro's second place overall is his best in the race. In 2004 and 2005 he finished 10th in the general classification while riding for Landis's Phonak team.

Germany's Andreas Kloden, a runner-up behind Armstrong in 2004, also had the final time trial to thank for his podium place.

The German finished second on Saturday behind teammate Serhiy Honchar to move up to third and thus deprive CSC's Carlos Sastre of Spain.

It was a good race for Australian riders meanwhile. For the first time in history, two Australians - Michael Rogers of T-Mobile and Davitamon's Cadel Evans - finished in the top ten.

Evans, who finished eighth on his debut last year, finished fifth while Rogers took 10th place.

McEwen, of the Davitamon team, won the race's points competition for the third time, allowing him to win his third green jersey after those of 2002 and 2004.

Denmark's Mickael Rasmussen of Rabobank won the polka dot jersey, for the race's best climber, for the second year running.

Former Tour of Italy winner Damiano Cunego meanwhile won the white jersey for the best young rider under 25 years old.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French News

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