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The devastation caused by Astana's performance on Tuesday is reflected in the general classification with defending champion Carlos Sastre and Cadel Evans nearly three minutes behind while Denis Menchov is Adidas Shoes High Tops For Boys
thought' and that is the truth. I was disrespectful to guys like (2008 Tour winner) Carlos Sastre and those who were impressive in last year's Tour and that was not correct. This is not easy and it will not be easy to win, if I am lucky enough to win again. Today, I am realistic. I have both feet on the ground, it's not going to be easy, I won't get last, but . it will be a hell of a lot harder than I expected. And that is as honest as I can say it."
With the first of three mountain stages through the Pyrenees beckoning on Friday, Astana's rivals are now clueless as to whether Alberto Contador or Armstrong will now lead the charge to the mountains.
worse off at 3:52.
Astana's Pace in Stage 5
Lance Armstrong admits the yellow jersey is within Adidas Eqt Support Adv White On Feet
reach, but insisted an eighth Tour de France win will not be easy.
"This is a long race and maybe there is one in my future," said Armstrong, who admitted mocking key figures from last year's race in a recently published book. Twelve months ago, I expected a yellow jersey and this is a confession I expected it to be easier. But six months ago, I didn't expect it and I was left thinking 'this is harder than I Adidas Duramo Review Runner's World
Armstrong claimed both he and Contador will be protected by Astana for the first mountain stage from Barcelona to the race's first summit finish at Arcalis in Andorra on Friday. But he said their strategy remained open for the remaining two stages in the Pyrenees.
Astana's 18 second margin of victory here leaves Armstrong in second place overall and just two tenths of a second behind leader Fabian Cancellara after just missing out on taking the yellow jersey from the Swiss rider.
Their performances were not lost on Armstrong and the veteran is clearly using his vast experience to the benefit of Astana, even if Contador is team manager Johan Bruyneel's chosen leader. "There's two ways to define the leader in this team there's the strongest one, who can be the leader who wins," Armstrong said. "There is also the team leader with experience, age and the trust of other riders. That might be my role. I told Alberto at the start, 'let's ride this perfect and make this race almost impossible to win for others.' I think we can say we accomplished that. Afterwards I told him the Tour de France is finished Adidas Energy Boost White Kanye now for some riders. With no disrespect, it's difficult to make that time up."
For the second day running, Armstrong stamped his mark on the race by helping Astana to victory in Tuesday's fourth stage team time trial which dropped several of his yellow jersey rivals down the general classification.
"We both go in (to the Pyrenees) protected, then we see what happens on top of Arcalis," said Armstrong. "For that day it's certainly possible, after that it becomes a difficult situation."
Astana's devastating performance on Tuesday has left Armstrong plus teammates 2007 Tour winner Alberto Contodor, Andreas Kloeden and Levi Leipheimer all in the top five ahead of Wednesday's 196.5km stage from Cap d'Agde down to Perpignan.
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