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Rest Day wrap: Tour 2006 still wide open

Freire vs McEwen in stage 9

Freire vs McEwen in stage 9 (Image credit: AFP)

It was billed as the most unpredictable Tour in years and so it has proved. Cyclingnews' Shane Stokes looks back at an exciting week of racing, documenting how some contenders have fallen by the wayside while others have set up a possible bid for yellow in the final week.

Fourteen down, six to go: the 2006 Tour de France is over two thirds of the way through, but the race is still very much an open affair. The first seven riders are all within four minutes of the yellow jersey and with three tough mountain stages, two road stages and a long time trial still to come, a ding-dong battle looks set to be waged between here and Paris.

Click here for the full round up of the second phase of the 2006 Tour.

French paper hits back at Armstrong

"Welcome to France asshole" was the headline on Monday's edition of the newspaper France Soir, which carried an angry reaction to Lance Armstrong's comments about the French football team over the weekend.

At the ESPY awards, Armstrong joked that all the French team's players had "tested positive ... for being assholes."

Armstrong arrived in France yesterday to join his Discovery Channel team at the Tour de France and the paper accused him of a publicity stunt intended to distract attention from Discovery's performance at the Tour.

"Has Lance Armstrong lost the plot?" the paper asked in an editorial. "The guy who doesn't speak out in public before consulting his lawyers seven times? Apparently not.

"His outburst has been designed to bring publicity to his Discovery Channel team. They are 10th in the race's team standings, and have been hugely disappointing on the race."

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