Tour de France has off day

July 16, 2002 at 2:39 PM
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BORDEAUX, France, July 16 (UPI) -- Riders in the Tour de France enjoyed one of their two off days Tuesday, although they had to travel 310 miles to Bordeaux in advance of the next phase of the competition.

The tour's 10th stage will be held Wednesday when the 182 riders remaining take part in a 91-mile trip from Bazas to Pau. That will be followed by the first mountain stage of this year's tour, during which three-time defending champion Lance Armstrong hopes to make up his current deficit.

Armstrong has climbed up to second in the overall standings, 26 seconds behind Igor Gonzalez Galdeano of Spain.

Armstrong gained eight seconds on Galdeano in Monday's time trial and if it had not been for a freak accident on Saturday, Armstrong would be wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey. Armstrong got tangled up with a teammate near the end of that stage and lost 27 seconds.

With seven mountain stages over the next two weeks, Armstrong appears primed for his fourth Tour De France triumph. In each of his three previous victories, Armstrong has used the first mountain stage to separate himself from the pack.

Galdeano, however, could be a formidable foe in the mountains. He finished fifth overall in last year's tour.

Santiago Botero of Colombia won the ninth stage on Monday, averaging 31.12 miles per hour and handing Armstrong his first setback in a long-distance time trial run since 1999.

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