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Last Updated: Wednesday, 18 February, 2004, 16:21 GMT
Armstrong back in action
Lance Armstrong
Armstrong will go for a record sixth Tour de France win in July
Lance Armstrong cruised over the line with the leading pack in the opening stage of the Tour of the Algarve.

The American is competing in his first race of 2004 as he aims for a record sixth Tour de France win in July.

"Armstrong isn't here to win," said Johan Bruyneel, the US Postal Service team's director and tactician.

"We need to get up to speed, get some competitive miles behind us. For the first day of racing, it went okay. He is fine, there were no problems."

The Texan, who finished 10 seconds off the pace, was racing with the team's new signings - Jose Azevedo, Patrick McCarty, Daniel Rincon, and Benjamin Noval.

The stage ended with an uphill sprint won by Spain's Alberto Benito, racing for Antarte, who took the yellow jersey.

The five-day race, a minor European event, features 16 teams and 124 riders.

Armstrong plans to spend February and March in Europe before returning to the United States in March where he will race in the Tour of Georgia. He returns to Europe in May.

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