Lance Armstrong (RadioShack) marks Alberto Contador (Astana) closely. The shadow boxing ends tomorrow.
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Seven-time winner expects to suffer again on the Col de la Ramaz
RadioShack's Lance Armstrong revealed to Lequipe.fr that he suffered a saddle sore and was forced to stand up out of his saddle more often that he wanted during the climbs of stage 7 at the Tour de France on Saturday.
"I suffered," said Armstrong. "I think about everybody did. It was so incredibly hard. It was just the heat. Everybody really paid. Everybody would say it was much harder than we'd think because of the temperature. If you get a little behind on hydration and nutrition - that's what happened to Klödi (Andreas Klöden) - the man with the hammer comes and you're done."
"Climbs from three to five kilometres are always very hard. They are high speed, and it's hard to get away, and it's hard to sit on the wheels. They are not my favourite."
Armstrong focused on the wheels of his competition, the Astana rider, whenever they accelerated. Although in the past, Armstrong has raced surrounded by teammates, on Saturday, he had fewer men immediately around him from his RadioShack squad.
Asked about his team today, Armstrong said, "I think they were good. We had a bad day. Everyone else was good. We had a lot of guys up there, but I tried to stay up the front. I was not turning around and looking, but from what I could hear on the radio, the guys were there."
Klöden was not there though and Armstrong had an excuse for him. He cited the bed the German rider had photographed in his hotel room and posted on the internet. "Klödi was the one with the bad bed," Armstrong said. "Maybe that's why he had a hard day." The Texan then turned his head in direction of his teammate in the bus and yelled, "Hey Klödi! It was your bed!"
"I had a good bed," said Armstrong with a sense of humor. "After he put his bed on twitter, I felt bad. My bed was fine. I won the Dauphiné twice and the Tour de Suisse once, so I got a good bed."
Joking aside, the American is expecting another hard day with the first mountaintop finish of the 2010 Tour de France in the Alps. "The key is La Ramaz, which is the one before the climb to Morzine. It's very difficult with eight, nine, 10 percent. With temperatures like we've been having, people will be stopped on the road. Last time we had temperatures like this was in 2003."
The seven-time winner of the Tour de France remembered that he almost lost the Tour once to Jan Ullrich because of the heat during the time trial from Gaillac to Cap'Découverte. That day 61 degrees Celsius (141 degrees Fahrenheit) was the measured road temperature - the same as during stage 5 this year.
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