Lance ready for Tour farewell despite crash

  • Other Sport
  • Tuesday, 28 Jun 2005

LAST HURRAH: American Lance Armstrong declared himself fit forhis last Tour de France race beginning next week. – REUTERSpic

WASHINGTON: With a week to go before his last Tour de France, six-times winner Lance Armstrong says he feels better than ever despite a small training crash that left him with a black eye and broken helmet. 

In a telephone conference call from Nice on Sunday with US reporters, Armstrong pronounced himself fit for the race and tried to downplay injuries suffered in what he called a “silly crash” last Wednesday. 

“The unfortunate thing is I hit my head which cracked the helmet in two,” said Armstrong, who was in Nice for some final testing and training before the race starts on July 2. 

“It wasn't that serious and nothing was wrong – no breaks, no stitches ... (just) road rash and a little beat up,” he said. “Fortunately, I haven't felt any ill effects from the crash in terms of ... pedalling. I feel I'm just as fluid as I was before.” 

Armstrong, 33, who is retiring after the Tour de France ends on July 24, said he was going slowly as he left Nice for a training ride when he crashed and damaged his time trial bike. 

The Discovery Channel team leader only mentioned the crash at the end of the conference call, because he said reporters might see him this week and notice he had been hurt. 

“Full disclosure,” he said. 

Armstrong, who finished an encouraging fourth earlier this month in the week-long Dauphine Libere – a traditional tour warm-up – said he was excited about his last race. 

“I feel very good on the bike and I'd even venture to say I feel better than I've ever felt,” said Armstrong, though he noted that one difference from past years was that he had not yet won a race this season. – Reuters  

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