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“I am not ok with that theory saying there can be only one team leader,” said LA

Mar 10, 2009
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“I am not ok with that theory saying there can be only one team leader,” said LA

Tour-Sharp Armstrong roars into contention

* Seven-times champion Armstrong up to third overall

* Top favourites trapped by Columbia’s acceleration

* Count me in, says Armstrong


By Julien Pretot

LA GRANDE MOTTE, France, July 6 (Reuters) - Seven-times champion Lance Armstrong proved his Tour de France credentials once again when he climbed to third overall following a spectacular third stage on Monday.

Briton Mark Cavendish snatched the stage victory after 196.5 kms from Marseille to La Grande Motte but the day’s big winner was Armstrong, the only favourite who was not caught out by a sharp break from Team Columbia.


Swiss Fabian Cancellara of the Saxo Bank team retained the overall leader’s yellow jersey, finishing ahead of German Tony Martin and American Armstrong by 33 and 40 seconds respectively.

Hot favourite Alberto Contador, who was trapped after Team Columbia’s move, dropped to fourth overall.

Spaniard Contador, named Astana’s team leader ahead of Armstrong, slipped 19 seconds behind the 37-year-old Texan.

“I am not ok with that theory saying there can be only one team leader,” said Armstrong.

“I have won seven Tours de France, I will have to be counted in.”

Astana sports director Alain Gallopin said there would not be any problems within the team even though Armstrong has somehow upset the hierarchy.

“There are no troubles at all in our team, it’s even the contrary,” he said.

“If there had been Armstrong and (Saxo Bank’s) Andy Schleck up front, that would have been a problem.

“There will be no problem tonight or tomorrow.”

Contador said what happened on Monday was unlikely to change his fate.

“I do want to comment on the tactics of the team,” he said.

“Everyone can draw their own conclusions. Anyway, the Tour will not be decided with what has happened today. It’s just a race incident.”

NEVER SAY NEVER

Astana will ride a team time-trial on Tuesday and should they smash the competition, Armstrong could snatch the yellow jersey.

“Never say never,” the American said.

The peloton split into two around 40 kms from the finish after a sudden burst of acceleration by Team Columbia in strong crosswinds which surprised nearly all the favourites.

“That was awesome, that was the best team effort I’ve been a part of in 10 years as a pro,” Australian Michael Rogers said on his Twitter page (http://www.twitter.com).

Astana’s Levi Leipheimer was also trapped.

“I’ve never seen the group split so suddenly, one second we were calm & then Columbia hit it in a very short section of crosswind,” he said.

Among the leading contenders, only Armstrong, back in the saddle after 3-1/2 years in retirement, was in the front group of some 25 riders who caught four early breakaways.

But the American did not help Columbia widen the gap, initially staying in the middle of the small pack with team mates Haimar Zubeldia and Yaroslav Popovych.

With 15 kms remaining, however, Popovych and Zubeldia started to work with Columbia as the gap finally reached 41 seconds on the finish line.

Cavendish, already a stage winner on Sunday, was the first to cross it, ahead of Norway’s Thor Hushovd, who was no match for the Briton’s raw power. Frenchman Cyril Lemoine was third.

(Editing by Ed Osmond; To query or comment on this story email sportsfeedback@thomsonreuters.com)
 
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Anonymous

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Man I will be glad when the Tour is over and you have no subject matter to start a thread with.....
 
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Anonymous

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why do we need repeated what has already been discussed in the stage thread, the astana thread, the lance is now leader thread and about 3 others...

WILL PEOPLE PLEASE BLOODY READ THE FORUM BEFORE STARTING ANOTHER NEW THREAD..
 
Mar 18, 2009
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dimspace said:
why do we need repeated what has already been discussed in the stage thread, the astana thread, the lance is now leader thread and about 3 others...

WILL PEOPLE PLEASE BLOODY READ THE FORUM BEFORE STARTING ANOTHER NEW THREAD..

It's the same person posting the same thread in different versions. No point in reading the others if you started them in the first place. While I have no problem in people expressing their opinion, Robert Merivel you are just getting ridiculous.
 
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Anonymous

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interestingly robert merrivel is an anagram of terrible mover.. :eek:

maybe someone should move this thread..
 
Robert Merivel said:
Briton Mark Cavendish snatched the stage victory after 196.5 kms from Marseille to La Grande Motte but the day’s big winner was Armstrong, the only favourite who was not caught out by a sharp break from Team Columbia.

I wonder why no one is commenting that since Lance was the "only favorite" who made the split then clearly all the teams of all the other GC contenders would have buried themselves to bring back that front group if they were truly worried about Armstrong and actually thought of him as a threat. Armstrong keeps talking himself up, but none of the other riders are racing as if they are worried about him in the slightest.
 
BikeCentric said:
I wonder why no one is commenting that since Lance was the "only favorite" who made the split then clearly all the teams of all the other GC contenders would have buried themselves to bring back that front group if they were truly worried about Armstrong and actually thought of him as a threat. Armstrong keeps talking himself up, but none of the other riders are racing as if they are worried about him in the slightest.

I and others have made that comment. If Evans, Sastre, Contador or one of the Schleck Brothers had made the break, you bet your a$$ the break would have been pulled back. But Lance is a contender, no doubt, but it is clear that the other GC contenders don't consider him a serious threat. At least not prior to this stage.
 

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