Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Armstrong falters in Tour de France

ARENBERG, France — Just four days into the Tour de France, Lance Armstrong is off to a rough start.

On the cobblestones in Tuesday's third stage, on which he had been expected to excel, the seven-time champ instead popped a tire, lost time changing it and fell back of his main rivals.

The 132-mile ride from Wanze, Belgium, to Arenberg Porte du Hainaut in France was the most dreaded stage of the first week — with seven sections of bone-jarring cobblestones that threatened injury, bike damage or lost time for title contenders.

Thor Hushovd of Norway, leading a six-man group, won the stage in a final sprint. Fabian Cancellara, the Swiss rider who won the prologue, was right behind — and recovered the leader's yellow jersey he had ceded Monday to Frenchman Sylvain Chavanel.

For Armstrong, the bigger threats are riders such as defending champion Alberto Contador, 2009 runnerup Andy Schleck and two-time runnerup Cadel Evans.

All leapfrogged Armstrong and will be tough to overcome when the next big challenges await in the Alps in the second week and a four-day run in the Pyrenees in the third.

"Our chances took a knock (Tuesday)," said Armstrong, 38. "I'm not going home; we'll stay in the race and keep trying."

Astana team leader Contador avoided disaster and rode the last 18 miles with the brake jammed against his rear wheel.

"I knew that if I changed the bike would be much worse, and I preferred to continue with the wheel braking," he said. "I couldn't stand up, but hey, we saved the day."

Schleck was fifth in the stage, clocking the same time as Hushovd: 4 hours, 49 minutes, 38 seconds. In the splintered pack, Contador was 13th, 1:13 back. Armstrong placed 32nd — 2:08 behind.

Overall, Cancellara leads Geraint Thomas by 23 seconds, and two-time Tour runnerup Evans is 39 seconds back. Contador is ninth, 1:40 back, Schleck is sixth, 1:19 back, and Armstrong sank to 18th, 2:30 back, after entering the day in fifth overall.

"It's very frustrating," Armstrong said. "I'm not going to make any excuses."

Frank Schleck, Andy's brother, who won the Tour of Switzerland last month, crashed on the fourth section. He was taken to a hospital and diagnosed with a broken left collarbone.

Tour de France

Tuesday: Thor Hushovd of Norway won in a final sprint.

Lance Armstrong watch: 18th, 2:30 back.

Today: Fourth stage is a 95.38-mile ride from Cambrai, France, to Reims, a short trek that looks tailor-made for sprinters.

TV: 8:30 a.m., Versus

Armstrong falters in Tour de France 07/06/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 7, 2010 7:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays rally twice to beat Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ARLINGTON, Texas — Starting Erasmo Ramirez on Monday after he closed out Sunday's marathon win turned out, despite the Rays' best intentions and rigid insistence, to be a bad idea as he gave up four runs without getting through three innings.

    Erasmo Ramirez, starting a day after closing a 15-inning marathon, struggles against the Rangers and comes out after throwing 43 pitches in 21/3 innings.
  2. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Monday's Rays-Rangers game

    The Heater

    The Rays had good reason to have faith in RHP Erasmo Ramirez starting Monday after closing Sunday based on his resiliency, versatility and efficiency. But it still turned out to be a bad idea as he allowed four runs without getting through three innings.

  3. Rays journal: Dugout bench becomes bed for Logan Morrison at end of long night

    The Heater

    ARLINGTON, Texas — The Rays found creative ways to get through the physical and mental fatigue of the 6½ hours they spent playing — and ultimately winning — Sunday's game in Minnesota.

    Corey Dickerson drapes towels over an exhausted Logan Morrison in the dugout during the 15th inning of Sunday’s marathon victory.
  4. Rays at Rangers, 8:05 p.m. Tuesday, Arlington, Texas

    The Heater

    Tonight: at Rangers

    8:05, Globe Life Park, Arlington, Texas

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun, 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    SURPRISE, AZ - MARCH 2: Nick Martinez #22 of the Texas Rangers poses for a portrait during photo day at Surprise Stadium on March 2, 2015 in Surprise, Arizona. (Photo by Rob Tringali/Getty Images)
  5. What major sporting event could Tampa Bay land next?

    Lightning Strikes

    We are on quite a roll as a community. First, we had a Super Bowl drop from the storm clouds into our lap. It just reaffirms the fact that Tampa Bay is great at lap. And Monday it became official: Next year's NHL All-Star Game will be held at Amalie Arena. The best in the world will be here to shoot and score. And …

    MVP Wayne Gretzky is congratulated at the 1999 NHL All-Star game, the last time the event was in Tampa Bay. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times file]