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Last Updated: Monday, 30 June, 2003, 16:14 GMT 17:14 UK
Rivals predict Armstrong win
By Matt Majendie

Lance Armstrong
Armstrong is the runaway favourite again during the Tour
Lance Armstrong is on course for a comfortable fifth successive Tour de France victory, according to leading figures in the peloton.

The Texan, who rides for the US Postal team, has dominated the event in the last four years and is the runaway favourite to win again in what is the centenary year of the race.

Armstrong won by more than seven minutes last year and rarely looked troubled en route to the yellow jersey over the three-week course.

Former yellow jersey wearers Stuart O'Grady and David Millar believe there is little standing in Armstrong's way.

1999: Won by 7m37s
2000: Won by 6:02
2001: Won by 6:44
2002: Won by 7:17

Millar told the BBC Sport website: "I think Lance will do it again. He is untouchable and is even more supremely motivated this year.

"Barring an accident, nothing will stop him. He is changing cycling with his supremacy."

Millar's sentiments were echoed by O'Grady, who has also donned the Tour's prestigious yellow jersey.

O'Grady, who rides for the Credit Agricole team, said: "For the time being, I can't see Lance being beaten.

"He's just a demon on the bike, especially in the time trials. Even if he lost a minute or two on a mountain stage to his rivals, I think he would still easily win.

I was riding in the Sarthe and the leading riders were just following Armstrong. They were too awestruck by him
Brad McGee on the reason for Armstrong's winning

"Everyone is racing for second and none of the main contenders for the runner-up spot are going to risk that by trying to challenge Armstrong throughout."

O'Grady's fellow Australian Bradley McGee, like Millar, has been tipped as a future contender for the race's overall yellow jersey.

McGee has already raced against Armstrong this season, and believes teams will have to drastically alter their tactics to hurt the American.

"I was riding in the Sarthe and the leading riders were just following Armstrong," said McGee.

"They were too awestruck by him. That said, it's hard not to be when you look at what he's achieved."

The Tour starts on 5 July in Paris.

Links to more Tour de France 2003 stories


Who is most likely to challenge Lance Armstrong this year?
Joseba Beloki
Tyler Hamilton
Jan Ullrich
504 Votes Cast
Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion




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