Lance Armstrong gave his comeback to professional cycling new credibility when he took a prominent role in the second stage of the Tour Down Under yesterday.
Armstrong was always near the front of the peloton, joined in two attacks in the late uphill stages of the 145km stage and finished 45th of 133 riders, 13 seconds behind the Australian stage winner, Allan Davis.
Armstrong, 37, took part in an 11-rider breakaway as the stage through rural South Australia state neared an uphill finish in front of more than 10,000 fans at Stirling, 30 minutes outside Adelaide.
He then attacked again in a two-man breakaway with Australian Jack Bobridge, a rider 18 years his junior. On both occasions he came back to the bunch but he fulfilled a pre-race promise to be close to the front of the race.
Davis led the race on general classification after two stages, with a three-second advantage over first-stage winner Andre Greipel of Germany. Armstrong was officially 68th on overall standings and 23 seconds behind the leaders with four stages remaining.