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As the Tour de France enters the Alps for what are arguably the two most critical stages, and an...
As the Tour de France enters the Alps for what are arguably the two most critical stages, and an unprecedented six riders are within touching distance of yellow, Cyclingnews' Daniel Benson spoke to seven-time winner Lance Armstrong to find out his feelings on the racing thus far and who he's tipping for yellow in Paris.
Cyclingnews: Have you been following the Tour closely?
Lance Armstrong: I'm in Chicago right now, but I've been watching the race when I can, and so far I've seen some of the main stages, like the one [to Prato Nevoso] on Sunday and the stage to Hautacam. When I've not been watching the TV coverage, I've been looking at the results. [On Cyclingnews, we'd imagine! - ed.]. It's been exciting, and I've been enjoying it.
Cyclingnews: It's been an incredibly tight race with plenty of excitement. What's stuck out for you?
LA: There's haven't been too many major shocks so far. I mean, you have Cadel Evans, and he's still as the favourite in my opinion. The guys from Team CSC have been doing what you'd expect and, of course, there's been [Denis] Menchov and Christian Vande Velde. To be honest I have been surprised by [Bernhard] Kohl though. I've simply never heard of that guy before the race. Who is he?
[Hint: Armstrong might have been focused on other riders instead of Kohl in this photo from the 2005 Dauphiné Libéré. -ed.]
Cyclingnews: You mentioned Christian Vande Velde. He a former team-mate from your US Postal days. Have you been following him closely?
LA: Some people may not have expected to see Christian do so well, but I know first-hand that he's a very strong guy and that he gets better and better as the race unfolds. He might be 39 seconds down on yellow, but to me, from when I was racing, if the gap to yellow was that small, it's pretty much the same time and you're on a level playing field.