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TOUR DE FRANCE

Tour de France to begin in Monaco

The race will open with a 9.6-mile time trial. Lance Armstrong will ride 18th, almost three hours before defending champion Carlos Sastre of Spain.

July 04, 2009|Lauren Goldman | Associated Press

The Tour de France is ready for another edition with Lance Armstrong, and today's opening stage may show whether he's ready to challenge for another title.

Armstrong's 37-year-old legs will be tested immediately when the three-week race begins with a 9.6-mile time trial.

The ride probably will offer an early shakeout of potential contenders who want to at least hold their own in the race against the clock. The main race favorites -- except Armstrong and American teammate Levi Leipheimer -- will start last as the 180 riders set off one by one. Defending champion Carlos Sastre of Spain, wearing the yellow jersey and No. 1 bib, will go last. Armstrong asked to be the first Astana rider to go. He'll ride 18th, nearly three hours before Sastre.

-- Associated Press

Destination Monaco: This small sovereign city-state in southwestern Europe is a constitutional monarchy and principality ruled by Prince Albert II. Monaco is home to 32,020 people, and an average person takes only 56 minutes to walk across its 0.76 miles. While crossing this small area, one may come across Le Texan, a fabulous Tex-Mex joint that was established at the suggestion of the late Oscar-winning actress, and princess of Monaco, Grace Kelly. While sitting at one of its outdoor tables in the fun-loving atmosphere, one would see the flag of the Lone Star State hanging proudly near a bar shaped like the Alamo in San Antonio.

-- Lauren Goldman

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