The United States Postal Service Pro Cycling Team’s
Lance Armstrong kicked off his 2000 season today, competing in the first stage of
the Tour of Valencia stage race in Sagunto, Spain. The winner of the 1999 Tour de
France, along with four of his seven teammates at the event, finished in a large
group of riders nearly 10 minutes back of stage winner Javier Pascual of the Spanish
Kelme team. Pascual won the 154 kilometer stage in 4:17:18, winning the sprint to
the line from eight other riders.
Today’s race marked Armstrong’s first appearance in the European peloton since
August 7 of last year at the San Sebastian World Cup event.
Johan Bruyneel, the Director Sportif of the US Postal Service team, commented
that Armstrong felt a little nervous at the start of today’s race, since it was his
first of the season and that Armstrong knows he is not yet in top shape. Bruyneel
did note that Armstrong appears to be in better shape now than at this time last
The Tour of Valencia, a five-day, five-stage event, is the US Postal Service
team’s second stage race of the young season, having competed in the Ruta del Sol
earlier this month. The race continues tomorrow with a 183 km stage from Port de
Sagunt to Calpe, and concludes on Saturday with a double stage day, including a 19.8
km time trial in Valencia.
STAGE 1, TOUR OF VALENCIA
1. Javier Pascual, Kelme; 154 kms in 4:17:18
2. Laurent Jalabert, ONCE; s.t.
3. Antonio Tauler, Kelme; s.t.
4. Juan Carlos Dominguez, Vitalicio Seguros; s.t.
5. Giuseppe Di Grande, Festina; s.t.
27. Viatcheslav Ekimov, USPS; at 3:34
56. Christian Vande Velde, USPS; s.t.
87. Steffen Kjaergaard, USPS; at 9:41
91. Cedric Vasseur, USPS; s.t.
107. Lance Armstrong, USPS; s.t.
115. George Hincapie, USPS; s.t.
118. Frankie Andreu, USPS; s.t.
158. Julian Dean, USPS; at 11:51