LA GRANDE-MOTTE, France (AP) — Lance Armstrong jumped from 10th to third place at the Tour de France on
Monday, positioning himself for a shot at the yellow jersey after evading trouble on a windy ride along
Britain’s Mark Cavendish won his second straight stage. He and Armstrong and overall leader Fabian
Cancellara of Switzerland kept up with a breakaway group that bolted from the pack with 18 miles left in
the 122-mile third stage.
Armstrong, a seven-time champion coming out of retirement, is 40 seconds behind. He was able to make his
big jump because riders in front of him at the start of the day got trapped in the main pack.
The race is set for a shakeout featuring Cancellara, Armstrong and Germany’s Tony Martin in Tuesday’s
team time trial. Each team is strong in the 24-mile event, which starts and finishes in Montpellier. If
Astana wins, Armstrong could take the yellow jersey. The race ends July 26 in Paris.
The Tour said Armstrong will be fined the equivalent of $92 for failing to sign in before the stage. His
Astana team said the Texan was delayed because of autographs and interviews.
This was the sixth time Cavendish won a Tour stage. He finished in 5 hours, 1 minute, 24 seconds on the
hot and breezy ride from Marseille to La Grande-Motte.
Armstrong, Cancellara and 22 other cyclists had the same time. Cancellara, who rides for Saxo Bank,
extended his lead and is ahead of Martin by 33 seconds.
Cavendish mimed talking on a cell phone — in recognition of one of the Columbia team sponsors — as he led
a sprint finish ahead of Norway’s Thor Hushovd and France’s Cyril Lemoine.
"It was brilliant," Cavendish said. "We were the only sprint team that wanted to ride
The pack, including expected contenders like Armstrong’s Astana teammate Alberto Contador of Spain, the
2007 Tour champion, and two-time runner-up Cadel Evans of Australia, finished 41 seconds behind.
Columbia took control with about 18 miles left. Its riders led a 29-man breakaway that included several
Astana cyclists, among them Armstrong and Cancellara.
They used the gusty conditions to their advantage in a tactic known as "bordure," which can
help breakaway groups gain time on the main pack. Contador and other favorites were caught off-guard.
"We knew the wind was going to be a factor," said Armstrong, noting Columbia’s move. "When
you see a team at the front like that, you have to pay attention."
Armstrong said it was "not my objective" to gain ground on Contador, insisting he was
"just trying to stay up front and out of trouble. … I turned around and was surprised there was a
Contador dropped to fourth from second and is 59 seconds back from Cancellara. Fellow Astana rider Levi
Leipheimer slipped to 10th, from sixth, and is 1:11 behind.