Armstrong's confidence boost

2010-06-06 21:24
Lance Armstrong (AFP)

Luxembourg - Lance Armstrong avoided trouble, at least on the road, to finish third overall at the Tour of Luxembourg on Sunday, a podium place the American was happy with given his low key season so far.

The seven-times Tour de France champion was less happy with one fan who heckled him after he crossed the line behind the main pack. Organisers had stopped timing with some 10 kms remaining after torrential rain and storms disrupted the final stage.

"Liar, cheat!", one fan yelled as Armstrong was talking to reporters.

The American looked over to the crowd and barked at the fan three times: "Come and do that to my face!"

Armstrong, who has never tested positive in his career, was accused last month of doping by his former team mate Floyd Landis.

The 38-year-old shook off the incident and said he was pleased with his efforts on the road.

"It's been a good four days. I felt strong. Four days beautiful, and then in one hour, boom!" he said.

The Texan was making up for lost time with his season hampered by illness and a crash at last month's Tour of California.

He could not precisely assess his current form, but added: "Any time you can win a race, be on a podium, in preparation it's important.

"I wouldn't have thought I would ride so strong this week."

The Tour of Luxembourg is a far cry from next month's Tour de France, but Armstrong will step up his preparations with the more demanding Tour of Switzerland from June 12-20.

"There are longer climbs, longer time trials," he said. "I think we have to make a good progression from here, to Switzerland and the Tour."

"Lance will scout a few Tour de France stages after the Tour of Switzerland," said his RadioShack team manager Johan Bruyneel.

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