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Friday, 21 July, 2000, 16:16 GMT 17:16 UK
Armstrong charges towards Paris
Armstrong on his way to time trial victory
Armstrong has completely dominated this Tour
Lance Armstrong confirmed his dominance of the 2000 Tour de France with a superb win in Friday's time trial stage.

The American set the second-fastest ride against the watch in Tour history, to add a first stage win in this year's race to his impending overall victory.

He covered the 58.5km course between Fribourg-en-Brisgau to Mulhouse in one hour, five minutes and one second - an average speed of almost 54kph (33.7mph).


For me the Tour would not have been complete if I had not won a stage - so I've done exactly what I set out to do
Lance Armstrong
Only Greg LeMond, the first Tour champion from the US has ever gone faster in a Tour time trial, but on a course half the length of this one.

Despite this rapid pace, German world champion Jan Ullrich was just 29 seconds slower than the American, who is now certain to win his second successive Tour.

Ullrich, the 1997 Tour winner, is equally sure of his third second place in the Tour in five years, but he is now 6'02 behind the dominant American.

Millar: Seventh place for Scot
Spain's Joseba Beloki completes the podium for Sunday's finish in Paris, with little change expected to the general classification in the remaining stages.

In Friday's time trial third-placed Frenchman Christophe Moreau of France was two minutes and 12 seconds adrift of Armstrong.

Armstrong's US Postal team-mate Tyler Hamilton was fourth fastest in 3'01, with Beloki another 25 seconds slower.

Former world champion Laurent Jalabert was sixth in 3'47, nine seconds ahead of Britain's David Millar who ended seventh.

This pair set the fastest times during the early stages, but neither they nor the other men from third place down were in the class of Ullrich or Armstrong.

Laurent Jalabert
Jalabert: Sixth and quickest until late runners
"It's very important for the yellow jersey to show himself in the time trial," said Armstrong.

The American started three minutes behind Ullrich and received news of the German's efforts throughout his ride.

"It was a great fight," admitted the American, who was five seconds fastest after 20.5km and 25 clear at 44km.

He was also delighted, that unlike in 1999, this year he had beaten the previous two Tour champions Ullrich and 1998 winner Marco Pantani.

"It's definitely a vindication. Last year was very special in many ways, but I also knew that Ullrich and Pantani weren't there," Armstrong said.

"I couldn't control that. I just had to cycle my race.

"But they were both critical of my performance - and I thought a lot about that all through the winter and spring, through May and June, and through the mountains."

Sydney next

Ullrich, who won the world championship in Treviso in Italy last autumn, will have his chance for revenge over the Texan at the Sydney Olympics in September.

But Armstrong is not planning to contest this year's worlds, which take place in Brittany just a fortnight later.

"The Tour is so physically demanding - Sydney is my next big objective," Armstrong explained.

After this stage the Tour has two road stages, which are expected to end with either bunch sprints or breakaway winners low down on the general classification.

Saturday's 20th stage is from Belfort to Troyes in western France, before a train journey to Paris for Sunday's finale on the Champs Elysees.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Simon Brotherton
"Only illness or injury could deny Armstrong his second tour win now."
See also:

12 Jul 00 | Tour de France
21 Jul 00 | Photo Galleries
21 Jul 00 | Tour de France
14 Jul 00 | Tour de France
12 Jul 00 | Tour de France
28 Jun 00 | Tour de France
21 Jul 00 | Tour de France
19 Jul 00 | Tour de France
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