Armstrong Wins France Tuneup Race
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GENEVA (AP) _ The Tour de France is three weeks away, but Lance Armstrong has already begun taming the French mountains.
On Sunday, Armstrong won the Dauphine Libere, his last tuneup race before bidding for a fourth straight Tour title.
Armstrong finished with an overall lead of 2 minutes and 3 seconds over second-ranked U.S. Postal Service teammate Floyd Landis. France’s Christophe Moreau, who rides for Credit Agricole, was third overall.
Spaniard Jose Enrique Gutierrez, riding for Kelme, won Sunday’s 93-mile trek between Morzine, France and Geneva in 3 hours, 38 minutes and 45 seconds. Christophe Oriol of France finished in the same time, and Australia’s Bradley McGee was third, 35 seconds behind.
Armstrong finished with the main pack, 5:11 behind Gutierrez.
The one-week Dauphine Libere took riders up the Mont Ventoux, set to be a highlight of the July 6-28 Tour.
Other difficult climbs included the Col du Joux-Plane, which the Texan conquered on his way to winning Saturday’s stage. He struggled to finish the climb two years ago in what was his only difficult moment of the Tour. The Col du Joux-Plane isn’t part of this year’s event.
Armstrong also won last month’s Midi Libre stage race, which covered mountainous terrain in southwestern France.
He is seeking to become only the fourth rider to win the Tour four times in a row. Of the four cyclists who share the record of five Tour titles, only Spain’s Miguel Indurain won all five consecutively.
The Dauphine Libere began in Lyon, France and covered 659.76 miles.