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Last Updated: Sunday, 10 July, 2005, 14:36 GMT 15:36 UK
Armstrong loses lead in Le Tour
Mickael Rasmussen
Lance Armstrong lost his grip on the Tour de France yellow jersey as Dane Mickael Rasmussen won stage nine with a strong display of climbing on Sunday.

Armstrong finished the day in third place overall, more than two minutes behind new leader Jens Voigt.

Rasmussen, who rides for the Rabobank team, took the lead after 3km and won maximum points on all of the climbs.

He held off the challenge of German Voigt and Christophe Moreau, who moved above Armstrong into second place.

Voigt leads Moreau by one minute and 50 seconds with Armstrong a further 28 seconds behind.

Voigt started the day one minute behind Armstrong and had been in a group tracking Rasmussen for much of the race but broke away with Moreau on the final climb of the day, the Ballon d'Alsace.

It gave the German the yellow jersey for the second time in his career while Rasmussen became the 10th Dane to win a stage on the Tour.

I expect to pay a high price in two days' time
Jens Voigt

Armstrong still leads main rival Jan Ullrich by 1:06 in the general classification, while his T-Mobile team-mate Alexandre Vinokourov sits just two places and 1:02 behind.

Despite claiming the yellow jersey, Voigt admits he is unlikely to keep the lead when the riders head for the Alps after Monday's rest day.

"I could not be happier but it cost me a lot of effort and I expect to pay a high price in two days' time. But today I have the jersey and that's great."

Rasmussen, the former world mountain bike champion, strengthened his grip on the King of the Mountains polka dot jersey with a strong display which saw him pick up 56 points.

Among his points haul were 30 for the final climb of the day, the Category One Ballon d'Alsace, the first ever mountain to feature on the Tour course in 1905.

"I just went to collect points for the King of the Mountains classification, and I just felt better and better and it lasted all the way to the line," he said.

After a difficult day on Saturday, Armstrong received better protection from his Discovery Channel team-mates, even though they did not chase when Rasmussen sprinted off on the day's first climb.

And Armstrong believes it has been one of the most testing first weeks he has experienced on the Tour.

"If you look at the average race speed of the first nine stages, I can't recall one being that fast," said the six-time winner.

"It's not been flat either so I anticipate that somewhere along the way in the second half of the race there's going to be a major crash in terms of people's condition and recovery.

"I felt today might be the day we gave the jersey away or the jersey was taken away and sure enough it was.

"It was not a priority to keep it, but it's always a special jersey to have on your back.

"But it's a long race and now it's the last 10 days which matter."


Stage results (Top 10)
1. Mickael Rasmussen (Den) Rabobank 4hrs 08mins 20secs
2. Christophe Moreau (Fra) Credit Agricole at 3mins 04secs
3. Jens Voigt (Ger) Team CSC at same time
4. Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Cofidis at 6.04
5. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Francaise des Jeux at same time
6. Anthony Geslin (Fra) Bouygues Telecom at same time
7. Sebastian Lang (Ger) Gerolsteiner at same time
8. Laurent Brochard (Fra) Bouygues Telecom at same time
9. Jerome Pineau (Fra) Bouygues Telecom at same time
10. Gerrit Glomser (Aut) Lampre - Caffita at same time

Overall standings (Top 10)
1. Jens Voigt (Ger) Team CSC 32hrs 18mins 23secs
2. Christophe Moreau (Fra) Credit Agricole at 1min 50secs
3. Lance Armstrong (USA) Discovery Channel at 2.18
4. Mickael Rasmussen (Den) Rabobank at 2.43
5. Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) T-Mobile Team at 3.20
6. Bobby Julich (USA) Team CSC at 3.25
7. Ivan Basso (Ita) Team CSC at 3.44
8. Jan Ullrich (Ger) T-Mobile Team at 3.54
9. Carlos Sastre (Spa) Team CSC at same time
10. George Hincapie (USA) Discovery Channel at 4.05



WATCH AND LISTEN
Interview: Denmark's Mickael Rasmussen


Interview: Germany's Jens Voigt


Report: BBC Five Live's Simon Brotherton



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SEE ALSO
Weening gets nod in photo finish
09 Jul 05 |  Cycling
Bernucci wins dramatic stage six
07 Jul 05 |  Cycling


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