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Monday, 10 July, 2000, 20:25 GMT 21:25 UK
Armstrong takes yellow jersey
Lance Armstrong climbs to Hautacam
Onwards and upwards: Armstrong's thrilling attack
Defending Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong has taken the leader's yellow jersey for the first time in the 2000 race.

The American finished second on the first mountain stage of the race between Dax and Lourdes-Hautacam.

The stage was won by Spaniard Javier Otxoa after a lone break over three giant Pyrenean climbs.

It was the Kelme rider's first professional win - on one of the cycling year's most important days.


Today was about good tactics - it was a good day for me, I like these conditions
Lance Armstrong
The Spaniard was 42 seconds clear of Armstrong at the finish, and one minute and 13 seconds ahead of third-placed compatriot Jose Maria Jimenez.

Otxoa's ride was a heroic effort overshadowed by Armstrong's superb ride.

The performance was reminiscent of the day he sealed last year's Tour win at Sestrieres in the Alps.

Once again he made the most of a damp, cold day to put massive time gaps between himself and his major rivals.

The Texan, who fought off cancer before winning his first Tour last year, spent most of the stage riding alongside the main contenders for his prize.

But on the final climb he picked them off, one by one.

Javier Otxoa
Otxoa salutes his first professional win
Italian 1998 Tour winner Marco Pantani tried to hold his pace, but could not stay with him and lost extra time as a result.

Last year's runner-up Alex Zulle also tried to stay with the Texan but had the familar sensation of being well beaten by the American, while 1997 winner Jan Ullrich also endured a rough day in the rain.

Apart from the top three, the only other men to finish within range of the Texan were four climbing specialists who came in some two minutes behind Otxoa.

They included home favourite Richard Virenque and three more Spaniards - Fernando Escartin, Manuel Beltran and Roberto Heras

Ullrich remains Armstrong's closest challenger - albeit four minutes and 14 seconds behind.

Festina's Christophe Moreau, a Frenchman previously known for his time trialling ability, is in third place overall after finishing the stage eighth.

Lance Armstrong
Armstrong enjoys the cold and rain
Virenque, who finished fourth on the stage, paid tribute to Armstrong's dominant performance.

"Armstrong came through like a plane at the end," said the Frenchman.

The winner himself was delighted with his own physical and mental performance on a day of wind, rain and temperatures as low as seven degree celcius.

"Today was about good tactics," Armstrong said. "It was a good day for me. I like these conditions.

"The Tour de France is very tough this year so I am not counting on anything."

Britain's David Millar also had a good day, finishing strongly and gaining second place in the best young rider's white jersey competition.

Click here for full stage coverage

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The BBC's Simon Brotherton
"A truly phenomenal ride by Lance Armstrong"
Lance Armstrong
"The weather was bad, the weather was real bad"
See also:

10 Jul 00 | Tour de France
09 Jul 00 | Tour de France
09 Jul 00 | Tour de France
07 Jul 00 | Tour de France
28 Jun 00 | Tour de France
28 Jun 00 | Tour de France
28 Jun 00 | Tour de France
09 Jul 00 | Tour de France
10 Jul 00 | Photo Galleries
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