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Armstrong 55th After Second Stage

February 16, 1998

MALAGA, Spain (AP) _ Sixteen months after testicular cancer forced him to give up racing, Lance Armstrong was 55th overall Monday following the second stage of his comeback race, the Ruta del Sol.

Armstrong was 63rd among 143 cyclists in the second stage, a 133-mile leg to Malaga, with a time of 5 hours, 34 minutes, 17 seconds. He was 58th Sunday in the opening stage.

America’s best-known active cyclist, Armstrong is a two-time Olympian. He won stages at the Tour de France in 1993 and 1996 and won the Tour Du Pont in 1995 and 1996 before being diagnosed with testicular cancer that already had spread to his lungs and brain.

Following chemotherapy, Armstrong’s doctors say the cancer remains in remission. Dr. Craig Nichols of Indiana University Hospital said the chance the cancer will recur is less than 10 percent.

Armstrong intends to participate in about 100 races this season before deciding his future.

Tom Steels of Belgium won Monday’s stage in 5:34.17. Robbie McEwen of Australia had the overall lead in 9:33.59.

Tuesday’s third stage, a 105-mile leg in Andalucia, includes a mountain pass that is expected to spread out the pack.

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