What's Cool In Road Cycling

Armstrong 2nd at Midi-Libre TT

– Reported by Dan Osipow for Tailwind Sports –

In his first serious test since finishing fourth at last month’s Amstel Gold Race, the United States Postal Service Pro Cycling Team’s Lance Armstrong finished second in today’s third stage of the Grand Prix du Midi-Libre stage race – a 19 kilometer time trial – in Rodez, France. Armstrong’s performance moved him from 31st to second place overall with two stages remaining.

Armstrong turned in a time of 23 minutes and 59 seconds in the difficult course, six seconds back of stage winner and new race leader Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano of ONCE. Following Armstrong, Galdeano’s ONCE teammates then took the third, fourth and fifth places in the stage and hold the same places in the overall classification.

Also turning in strong performances for the USPS team today were Roberto Heras – ninth place in the stage, at 1:05 – and Floyd Landis – 16th at 1:17. Overall, Heras is in 10th place, 1:05 back of Galdeano, while Landis moved up into 15th place, at 1:18.

“Today was the first real strong effort since the Amstel Gold Race for Lance and for a big part of the team,” said Johan Bruyneel, the USPS team’s director sportif. “I think the result were good – Lance’s TT was very good, but Galdeano was stronger than him today, as he is a real time trial specialist. I saw how fast Lance was going, so Galdeano must have been very strong.

“Our U.S. Postal Service team looks strong and solid,” added Bruyneel. “The basic condition of everyone is very good, but for now, some guys are missing some “race” speed. But after a couple more days, we’ll get there.”

Bruyneel also said he was please with Heras’ effort and added, “In general, I think we’re right on track. The preparation for the Tour de France is going good – but today was a sign that other teams are well prepared, too.”

1. Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano, ONCE Eroski; 19 kms in 23:53
2. Lance Armstrong, U.S. Postal Service; at :06
3. Josй Azevedo, ONCE-Eroski; at :15
4. Marcos Serrano, ONCE-Eroski; at :43
5. Jцrg Jaksche, ONCE-Eroski; at :48
9. Roberto Heras, U.S. Postal Service; at 1:05
16. Floyd Landis, U.S. Postal Service; at 1:17
20. Steffen Kjaergaard, U.S. Postal Service; at 1:30
28. Victor Hugo Pena, U.S. Postal Service; at 1:45
41. Jose Luis Rubiera, U.S. Postal Service; at 1:58
43. David Clinger, U.S. Postal Service; at 2:00
78. Matt White, U.S. Postal Service; at 2:34

1. Galdeano; 10:16:46
2. Armstrong; at :07
3. Azevedo; at :16
4. Serrano; at :44
5. Jaksche; at :49
10. Heras; at 1:05
15. Landis; at 1:18
19. Kjaergaard; at 1:31
31. Clinger; at 1:56
36. Rubiera; at 1:59
48. Pena; at 2:12
94. White; at 4:36
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