Lance Armstrong was dropped when Andy Schleck attacked on the Col du Petit Saint Bernard on Tuesday’s Tour de France stage but then surged across the gap before the summit and finished in the same time as Alberto Contador, Bradley Wiggins and all the other favourites.
“I was left out the acceleration and I was caught by surprise but Alberto and Andreas were there, so there wasn’t much I could do,” Armstrong admitted after stage 16.
“Fortunately some guys were riding a pretty good tempo and kept it close but I realised that the race was going up the road. I figured I’d give it a shot. I didn’t expect to make it across as quickly as I did but I felt good. My legs were good today.”
“The petit Saint Bernard isn’t that steep at 6%, so you’ve got to find that moment, a seven or eight, when you can make an acceleration, otherwise all the guys follow you. I was just looking for a bit of steep road.”
Armstrong admitted that his surge was a flash of the Armstrong who won the Tour de France seven times. But he also admitted he no longer has the acceleration to follow his younger rivals.
“That acceleration felt like the Armstrong of old. I still maintain I can’t accelerate like these young kids can now. Maybe today in the back of my mind, I just wanted to ride my race and my tempo, as I didn’t do the other day when I got left behind.”
“Now we’ll see what happens tomorrow. It’s an up and down day and probably a day of attrition. Hopefully I’ll be there,” Armstrong said.
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