Lance Armstrong helped his RadioShack team place four riders in the top ten of the opening prologue of the Tour de Luxembourg on Wednesday when he placed fifth on the short 2.6km course.
Armstrong came in nine seconds adrift of prologue winner
Jimmy Engoulvent, whose Saur-Sojasun squad exceeded RadioShack’s performance by placing riders in first, second and fourth spots. Cyril Lemoine placed second at eight seconds, with RadioShack’s Gregory Rast in third.
It’s the first indication so far this season that Armstrong – who won the Tour de Luxembourg in 1998 – is gaining some of the form required to contest the Tour de France in July. It was less than a month ago that Armstrong was beaten in the Tour of the Gila time trial stage by British youngster Alex Dowsett, who rides for Armstrong’s Trek-LiveStrong development squad.
Since then, seven-times Tour de France winner Armstrong has been at the centre of controversy after former US Postal team-mate Floyd Landis made several widely-publicised allegations that the Texan has doped during his cycling career.
Immediately after the allegations were made public, Armstrong was forced to withdraw from the Tour of California as a result of crashing and sustaining lacerations beneath his eye.
Armstrong is currently the subject of a federal investigation into the Landis allegations.
Defending 2009 Luxembourg winner Frank Schleck (Saxo Bank) finished 25th, 16 seconds behind Engoulvent.
Two British riders are taking part in the UCI 2.HC category Tour de Luxembourg – Ian Stannard and Ben Swift of Team Sky. Stannard placed 91st and Swift 105th in the prologue.
The five-day Tour de Luxembourg concludes on Sunday, June 6. Thursday’s opening road stage starts in Luxembourg and concludes in Hesperange 179.7km later.
Tour de Luxembourg 2010, prologue: Luxembourg – Ville, 2.6km
1. Jimmy Engoulvent (Fra) Saur-Sojasun in 3-41
2. Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Saur-Sojasun at 8sec
3. Gregory Rast (Swi) RadioShack at 8sec
4. Jimmy Casper (Fra) Saur-Sojasun at 9sec
5. Lance Armstrong (USA) RadioShack at 9sec
6. Daryl Impey (RSA) RadioShack at 10sec
7. Borut Bozic (Slo) Vacansoleil at 10sec
8. Aitor Galdos (Spa) Euskatel-Euskadi at 10sec
9. Andreas Kloden (Ger) RadioShack at 12sec
10. Jempy Drucker (Lux) Continental Team Differdange at 12sec
91. Ian Stannard (GB) Team Sky at 27sec
105. Ben Swift (GB) Team Sky at 31sec