Fri, Apr 30, 2010 - Page 19 News List

Armstrong, Leipheimer tackle the Gila


Lance Armstrong finished 22nd in the Tour of the Gila’s opening stage on Wednesday, a 153km road race that was capped by a grueling climb.

Armstrong returned to the five-day race for the second straight year and said the New Mexico event compares favorably to the narrow, twisting climbs of European racing. The Gila race has more than 7,600m of climbing and 542km of road racing — a good early-season test.

Its biggest advantage, however, is that traveling to New Mexico doesn’t require a time zone change from Armstrong’s Colorado training base.

“It gives me some race stages,” he said. “Plus, it’s a big field. There’s the altitude. There are a lot of pluses to being here.”

Armstrong’s RadioShack teammate, Levi Leipheimer, won the opening stage after breaking from a pack near the finish of the steep ascent in the foothills of the Gila Mountains. Leipheimer won the Gila’s overall title last year and had to work harder to win the opening stage this time.

“I definitely had to suffer more,” Leipheimer said. “I haven’t been at elevation much this year. I’m still hurting. It’s tough. There’s nothing as painful.”

Armstrong and Leipheimer are using the Tour of the Gila as a buildup to next month’s Tour of California. Because the California race was pushed back a few weeks this year, the New Mexico event has drawn a stronger and larger field.



Slovakia’s Peter Sagan enjoyed another outstanding day in his breakthrough season by winning the first stage of the Tour de Romandie on Wednesday.

Sagan, a 20-year-old former mountain bike specialist, won two stages of the Paris-Nice race last month and he outpaced the field again on the 175.6km stage from Porrentruy to Fleurier, Switzerland — a bumpy stage that proved too demanding for Britain’s Mark Cavendish.


Yesterday’s results

• La New Bears 3,

Uni-President Lions 2

• Brother Elephants 8

Sinon Bulls 4

Today’s games

• La New Bears vs Sinon Bulls

(Taichung, 6:35pm)

• Uni-President Lions vs

Brother Elephants

(Luodong, 6:35pm)

Running second after Tuesday’s prologue, Sagan proved he was also at ease in bunch finishes when he outshone Italian sprinter Francesco Gavazzi and Nicolas Roche, the son of former Tour de France champion Stephen.

“I didn’t feel too well on the first two climbs of the day, but much better on the third,” said Sagan, an all-rounder who might be pretty hard to dislodge from the overall lead.

When Cavendish started to drift back on the roads of the Val de Travers, Sagan’s Liquigas teammates set a quick pace to leave the Briton as far back as possible and he eventually crossed the line more than nine minutes behind the winner.

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