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Tour gallery: Lance Armstrong

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Astana riders take in Monaco prior to Saturday's Tour de France start.

Astana riders take in Monaco prior to Saturday's Tour de France start. (Image credit: AFP)
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Alberto Contador and Lance Armstrong (Astana)

Alberto Contador and Lance Armstrong (Astana) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Lance Armstrong (Astana) and Prince Alberto of Monaco at the start of stage two.

Lance Armstrong (Astana) and Prince Alberto of Monaco at the start of stage two. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Lance Armstrong sits up front during the latter part of stage three.

Lance Armstrong sits up front during the latter part of stage three. (Image credit: AFP)
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Lance Armstrong of Team Astana came within a fraction of a second of taking the yellow jersey.

Lance Armstrong of Team Astana came within a fraction of a second of taking the yellow jersey. (Image credit: AFP)
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Belgian champion Tom Boonen chats with Lance Armstrong at the start.

Belgian champion Tom Boonen chats with Lance Armstrong at the start. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Lance Armstrong (Astana) during stage six.

Lance Armstrong (Astana) during stage six. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Lance Armstrong (Astana) congratulates Thor Hushovd (Cervélo TestTeam) on his stage six win in the Tour de France.

Lance Armstrong (Astana) congratulates Thor Hushovd (Cervélo TestTeam) on his stage six win in the Tour de France. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Lance Armstrong (Astana) at the head of a chasing group in Tour de France stage seven

Lance Armstrong (Astana) at the head of a chasing group in Tour de France stage seven (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Levi Leipheimer leads his Astana teammate Lance Armstrong across the finish line.

Levi Leipheimer leads his Astana teammate Lance Armstrong across the finish line. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Lance Armstrong (Astana) after a tough mountain stage.

Lance Armstrong (Astana) after a tough mountain stage. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Lance Armstrong (Astana) ahead of race leader Rinaldo Nocentini (AG2R La Mondiale) in stage eight of the Tour de France

Lance Armstrong (Astana) ahead of race leader Rinaldo Nocentini (AG2R La Mondiale) in stage eight of the Tour de France (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Tour de France race leader Rinaldo Nocentini (AG2R La Mondiale) and Lance Armstrong (Astana).

Tour de France race leader Rinaldo Nocentini (AG2R La Mondiale) and Lance Armstrong (Astana). (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Lance Armstrong (Astana) looked untroubled throughout the stage

Lance Armstrong (Astana) looked untroubled throughout the stage (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Lance Armstrong leads the yellow jersey on the descent.

Lance Armstrong leads the yellow jersey on the descent. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Lance Armstrong (Astana) before the start

Lance Armstrong (Astana) before the start (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Lance Armstrong (Astana) and Bradley Wiggins (Garmin-Slipstream) arrive at the finish in Vittel.

Lance Armstrong (Astana) and Bradley Wiggins (Garmin-Slipstream) arrive at the finish in Vittel. (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Lance Armstrong keeps fueled up.

Lance Armstrong keeps fueled up. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Lance Armstrong (Astana) makes his way to the start of stage 14

Lance Armstrong (Astana) makes his way to the start of stage 14 (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Astana teammates Lance Armstrong and Alberto Contador ride towards Verbier. The Swiss mountain proved to be the first true battleground of the Tour, with Contador coming out on top

Astana teammates Lance Armstrong and Alberto Contador ride towards Verbier. The Swiss mountain proved to be the first true battleground of the Tour, with Contador coming out on top (Image credit: AFP)
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Andreas Kloden and Lance Armstrong ride together

Andreas Kloden and Lance Armstrong ride together (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Lance Armstrong (Astana) leads Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) on the final climb.

Lance Armstrong (Astana) leads Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) on the final climb. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Lance Armstrong (Astana) looked spent at the finish

Lance Armstrong (Astana) looked spent at the finish (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Lance Armstrong (Astana) takes a turn at the front.

Lance Armstrong (Astana) takes a turn at the front. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Lance Armstrong descends the Col des Saisies.

Lance Armstrong descends the Col des Saisies. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Lance Armstrong (Astana) and Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) shake hands after a hard day of racing.

Lance Armstrong (Astana) and Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) shake hands after a hard day of racing. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Lance Armstrong riders near yellow jersey Alberto Contador on the Côte d'Araches. David Millar (Garmin-Slipstream) rides in front of teammate Bradley Wiggins.

Lance Armstrong riders near yellow jersey Alberto Contador on the Côte d'Araches. David Millar (Garmin-Slipstream) rides in front of teammate Bradley Wiggins. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Lance Armstrong (Astana) is cheered to the summit of the Col de la Colombière.

Lance Armstrong (Astana) is cheered to the summit of the Col de la Colombière. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Lance Armstrong (Astana) spies a Texas flag on the Col de la Colombière.

Lance Armstrong (Astana) spies a Texas flag on the Col de la Colombière. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Lance Armstrong chats with Diquigiovanni manager Gianni Savio prior to the start of stage 17.

Lance Armstrong chats with Diquigiovanni manager Gianni Savio prior to the start of stage 17. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) and Lance Armstrong (Astana) follow Bradley Wiggins (Garmin-Slipstream).

Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) and Lance Armstrong (Astana) follow Bradley Wiggins (Garmin-Slipstream). (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Lance Armstrong (Astana) moved into third on GC with his 16th place time trial finish.

Lance Armstrong (Astana) moved into third on GC with his 16th place time trial finish. (Image credit: AFP)
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Lance Armstrong (Astana) gives it his all as he nears the finish line.

Lance Armstrong (Astana) gives it his all as he nears the finish line. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Lance Armstrong (Astana) suffers up the hill.

Lance Armstrong (Astana) suffers up the hill. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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A relaxed Lance Armstrong awaits the start of stage 19.

A relaxed Lance Armstrong awaits the start of stage 19. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank) finishes alongside Alberto Contador (Astana), as Lance Armstrong (Astana) comes in a few seconds later

Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank) finishes alongside Alberto Contador (Astana), as Lance Armstrong (Astana) comes in a few seconds later (Image credit: AFP)
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Lance Armstrong (Astana) is surrounded at the finish

Lance Armstrong (Astana) is surrounded at the finish (Image credit: AFP)
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Lance Armstrong (Astana) rode strongly.

Lance Armstrong (Astana) rode strongly. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Cool as a cucumber: Alberto Contador (Astana) speaks to Lance Armstrong (Astana) on the way up Mont Ventoux

Cool as a cucumber: Alberto Contador (Astana) speaks to Lance Armstrong (Astana) on the way up Mont Ventoux (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Alberto Contador (Astana) leads Lance Armstrong (Astana)

Alberto Contador (Astana) leads Lance Armstrong (Astana) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Astana teammates Lance Armstrong, Yaroslav Popovych and Alberto Contador enjoy a well earned tipple

Astana teammates Lance Armstrong, Yaroslav Popovych and Alberto Contador enjoy a well earned tipple (Image credit: AFP)
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Lance Armstrong (Astana) congratulates Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank) as Alberto Contador looks on

Lance Armstrong (Astana) congratulates Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank) as Alberto Contador looks on (Image credit: Sirotti)
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A new Tour experience for Lance Armstrong as he stands next to the top step of the podium

A new Tour experience for Lance Armstrong as he stands next to the top step of the podium (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Lance Armstrong (Astana) leads Alberto Contador (Astana)

Lance Armstrong (Astana) leads Alberto Contador (Astana) (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank), Alberto Contador (Astana) and Lance Armstrong (Astana)

Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank), Alberto Contador (Astana) and Lance Armstrong (Astana) (Image credit: Sirotti)

It was never likely to be a quiet return to the race that Lance Armstrong won seven times in succession. Few could have expected, however, the drama that has played out since Armstrong rolled down the start ramp of this year's Tour de France in Monaco on July 5.

It took three days of racing for evidence of a power struggle between Armstrong and teammate Alberto Contador to emerge - a few more days for it to be confirmed - and just 5.7km on a Swiss mountain for it to all but come to close.

Astana polemics aside, three years out of the sport and at the end of stage 16 he's holding onto second place in the Tour. No matter which way you slice it, Armstrong has had an incredible return to France.

Click here to view images of Lance Armstrong's Tour de France

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