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Armstrong Takes Swiss Cycling Lead

June 26, 2001

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CRANS MONTANA, Switzerland (AP) _ Lance Armstrong surged to the overall lead in cycling’s Tour de Suisse on Tuesday after an overwhelming victory in a rare mountain time trial.

Armstrong captured the seventh stage and clearly looked ready for this bid at a third straight Tour de France championship next month.

He won the 15.5-mile mountain stage from Sion to Crans Montana in 47 minutes, 18 seconds _ almost a minute and a half ahead of his nearest rivals.

Gilberto Simoni, the winner of the recent Giro d’Italia, was runner-up, 1:25 off the pace. Tyler Hamilton, Armstrong’s U.S. Postal Service teammate, was third, 1:26 behind.

Armstrong leads the standings with a time of 26 hours, 58 minutes, 35 seconds. Simoni is 1:01 behind and Italy’s Wladimir Belli dropped from first to third, 1:33 back.

Armstrong, a powerful climber who excels at time trial, wanted to test himself in the Alpine nation’s rugged mountains. It is on such climbs the Texan won his Tour de France titles.

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