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CYCLING

Lance Armstrong moves into third in Tour de France

Armstrong jumped from 10th place and is now 40 seconds behind leader, Fabian Cancellara. Britain's Mark Cavendish won the stage for the second consecutive day.

July 07, 2009

With a savvy sense of the pack and a touch of luck, Lance Armstrong surprised some of the younger Tour de France contenders Monday to move within striking distance of the yellow jersey.

The 37-year-old seven-time champion made up for what his legs lack in power with road smarts during the breezy third stage, rising from 10th to third place. Armstrong, of Team Astana, hitched a ride with a breakaway group led by old sidekick George Hincapie's Team Columbia. Mark Cavendish, a Columbia rider from Britain, won the stage for the second straight day.

Race leader Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland kept the yellow jersey for a third day in a row. The Saxo Bank rider extended his lead and is ahead of Columbia rider Tony Martin of Germany by 33 seconds and Armstrong by 40.

Most of the favorites were trapped by the wind during the 122-mile ride from Marseille to La Grande Motte. Sensing the gusts were playing havoc ahead of a turn with about 18 miles to go, Armstrong stayed in front, outfoxing riders such as Alberto Contador of Spain, the 2007 winner and favorite this year.

Quote of the day: "Never say never" -- Armstrong, about the prospect of taking the yellow leader's jersey in today's team time trial in Montpellier.

-- Associated Press

STAGE 3 RESULTS

Mark Cavendish, Britain

5:01:24

Thor Hushovd, Norway

same time

Cyril Lemoine, France

same time

Samuel Dumoulin, France

same time

Jerome Pineau, France

same time

--

OVERALL STANDINGS

Fabian Cancellara, Switzerland

9:50:58

Tony Martin, Germany

:33 behind

Lance Armstrong, U.S.

:40 behind

Alberto Contador, Spain

:59 behind

Bradley Wiggins, Britain

1:00 behind

Today's stage: A 24-mile team time trial that starts and finishes in Montpellier. Astana will have an edge by riding last and seeing how riders fare.

Destination Montpellier: Originally named Monspessulanus, said to have stood for mont pele (the naked hill, because the vegetation was poor), this city is built on two distinct hills, Montpellier and Montpellieret. Cyclists riding through the city may experience changes in altitude because of the height differences in these two hills.

-- Lauren Goldman

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