Armstrong: I'm happy to be here

Former winner on his return to the Tour

As expected, much of the focus on the first day of the Tour de France was on the returning seven-time winner, Lance Armstrong. With the possibility of showers later in the day the American elected to start early, and went off number 18 – at 4:18 p.m., almost three hours before the final, seeded riders. He set the leading time at one stage, clocking 20:12 at the finish line but eventually dropped to tenth, 40 seconds behind stage winner Fabian Cancellara.

Armstrong looked strong, if not entirely at ease on his bike – an impression he confirmed after his ride. "It was very technical and hard to find a good rhythm," said Armstrong. "I’m four years away from racing, I haven’t raced since the Giro, and I did the best I could.

"The best way to sum it up is that I had fun," he continued. "I was feeling pretty good, but I didn’t expect to win or take yellow."

Armstrong admitted that he had felt “a little nervous” before the start. "I didn’t feel comfortable [on the bike]. It’s a long time since I had those good sensations, but I felt like I knew the course well.

"I’m happy," he added, "I’m having fun. Even if I can’t win, I’m having a good time, and I’m happy to be here."


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