Armstrong second in stage, moves up to second overall

Posted: Tuesday, July 16, 2002

LORIENT, France -- Lance Armstrong jumped six spots to second overall in the Tour de France with a runner-up finish Monday in an individual time trial.

The three-time defending champion was 11 seconds slower than the winner of the ninth stage, Santiago Botero of Colombia. Armstrong had won seven of the previous nine Tour de France time trials, dating to 1999.

''For sure, Lance would have loved to win this time trial,'' U.S. Postal Service team spokesman Jorgi Muller said. ''It's not such a boring Tour after all.''

Botero, who rides for the Kelme team, completed the 32 1/4 miles on a wind-swept course from Lanester to Lorient along the coast of Brittany in 1 hour, 2 minutes, 18 seconds. It was his second Tour stage victory.

''Botero's no surprise winner,'' Armstrong said.

The Colombian beat Armstrong by 42 seconds in a 25 1/2-mile time trial stage in the Dauphine Libere in June, although the Texan won the weeklong race.

Yellow jersey holder Igor Gonzalez Galdeano of Spain finished fourth Monday, 19 seconds off the pace.

His lead over Armstrong dropped to 26 seconds. Armstrong entered the day eighth overall, 34 seconds back.

 

Santiago Botero of Colombia rides on his way to win the ninth stage of the Tour de France cycling race, a 52-kilometer (32 miles) individual time trial between Lanester and Lorient, Brittany, Monday July 15, 2002.

AP Photo/Laurent Rebours

The American still trails in the standings largely because of a crash Saturday that entangled him and cost him 27 seconds.

''The Tour has changed -- Armstrong isn't as strong in the time trial as he was a year ago,'' Gonzalez Galdeano said. ''The race has become more open. We'll now see if he's as unbeatable as he once was in the mountains.''

The Tour moves into the Pyrenees on Thursday, for the first of six mountain stages this year.

Armstrong dominated in the mountains last year, winning the Tour with a final advantage of more than 6 1/2 minutes.



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