In his first race since breaking a vertebra in his neck last
month, the United States Postal Service Pro Cycling Team’s Lance Armstrong won today’s
Grand Prix des Nations time trial event in France and declared himself fit enough
to compete in the Olympic Games.
"I am going to the Games," Armstrong told reporters following his victory
in the 75-kilometer event. "I needed to know what I could do. I feel confident
Armstrong will compete in the Olympic road race on September 27 and the time trial
event three days later.
Held in the northern city of Yvetot, Armstrong posted the winning time of 1:31:05
for an average of 49.405 kph. The Texan’s closest rival was Lampre’s Raivis Belohvosciks,
1:41 behind. Armstrong’s USPS teammate and fellow Olympian Tyler Hamilton finished
fifth in the event, 2:37 back. Hamilton will also compete in the road race and time
trial in Sydney.
Despite altering his training program since his training accident on August 29, Armstrong
said he felt "100% in the legs and 90% in the neck.
"I’m pleased, very pleased because the doctors’ diagnosis was not very optimistic
three weeks ago," Armstrong added.
GP DES NATIONS
1. Lance Armstrong, USPS; 75 kms in 1:31:05
2. Raivis Belohvosciks, Lampre; at 1:41
3. Laszlo Bodrogi, Mapei; at 2:34
4. Michael Rich, Gerolsteiner; at 2:36
5. Tyler Hamilton, USPS; at 2:37