Texan wraps up charity visit to South Africa with strong ride
Lance Armstrong (RadioShack) finished ninth in the Cape Argus mass-ride in Cape Town, South Africa on Sunday, giving a lead out to teammate Daryl Impey who finished third.
Three-time winner Malcolm Lange (Medscheme) won the sprint ahead of Christoff van Heerden (MTN Energade). Behind them 35,000 other riders were expected to complete one of the biggest mass-rides in the world.
Armstrong started with front group of professional riders, getting up at four in the morning to make it to the start. "Earliest I've ever woken up for a bike race." He said in a pre-ride tweet.
A strong wind blew for most of the ride and turned into a stiff headwind along the spectacular coast road back to Cape Town. The event often finishes in a sprint but this year 12 riders got away on Chapman's Peak, 36km from the finish, breaking the grip of the MTN Energade team and opening a one-minute gap.
Armstrong tried to lineout the break in the final kilometre to set up Impey but Lange waited patiently and made a late surge to the line.
"Lance tried to go with a kilometre to go but I don't think he realised how strong the wind blows down here in the Cape. I think their plan was to make me go early but I waited. With about 150 metres to go I knew I had it," Lange told AFP after the race.
Armstrong finished slightly off the pace after his effort. He then quickly disappeared, getting a ride on a motorbike to the airport to avoid the traffic in downtown Cape Town.
The seven-time Tour de France winner spent almost a week in South Africa, training in the sun but also helping promote the Jag Foundation charity and his own LiveStrong Global Cancer Campaign. Many of the 35,000 people who took part in the ride wore yellow in support of LiveStrong.
"Argus Cycle Tour done! What a cool ride/race. Congrats to @darylimpey on gettin' 3rd. Wind was howling out there. And hats off to all the riders today. Won't be easy in that wind. Cold beers tonight!" Armstrong said in tweet messages before leaving South Africa.
"Taking off for home now. Thanks Cape Town for a great week. And thanks to @jagfoundation for all you are doing down here. Livestrong!"
Armstrong is expected to return his base in the south of France before riding next Saturday's Milan-San Remo.