REIMS, France — Lance Armstrong's flat tire has done more than deflate some of his hopes for another Tour de France victory. It has also caused second-guessing within his RadioShack team.
Before Wednesday's flat fourth stage, won by Italy's Alessandro Petacchi in a sprint, Armstrong said he and his teammates could have better managed the cobblestones where he punctured a tire and lost time the previous day.
Wednesday's ride didn't shake up the overall standings, with Switzerland's Fabian Cancellara retaining the yellow jersey, and many riders were still pondering the blows Armstrong and RadioShack suffered Tuesday.
"Like they say, you create your own luck, and we created our bad luck (Tuesday)," Armstrong said. "We can't blame anybody but ourselves."
The standings remained the same after Wednesday's 95.4-mile ride from Cambrai to the champagne capital Reims, a mostly flat trek tailor-made for sprinters. Lampre rider Petacchi earned his second stage victory this year in a mass sprint. Armstrong and other title contenders finished safely in the pack with the same time: 3 hours, 34 minutes, 55 seconds. Cancellara did, too, and retained the yellow jersey for a fourth day.