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Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 July, 2003, 11:15 GMT 12:15 UK
Boardman backs Armstrong
By Alex Trickett

Chris Boardman
Boardman (pictured) rates Indurain as the last of a kind
Retired British cyclist Chris Boardman has predicted no change at the top of the pecking order at this year's Tour de France.

Lance Armstrong, winner of the past four Tours, is bidding to join an elite group of five-times champions, comprising Eddy Merckx, Jacques Anquetil, Bernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain.

And former yellow-jersey wearer Boardman sees nobody coming between the American and that honour when racing starts on 5 July.

"He is still too good," Boardman told this website.

"Everyone gets toppled at some point, but Armstrong is the kind that will stop winning only when he decides to retire.

Five times winners of Le Tour
Eddy Merckx
Jacques Anquetil
Bernard Hinault
Miguel Indurain

"He won't keep going and slide down the ranks. As soon as he's close to slipping he'll quit.

"It's hard to say how long that will be, but there isn't likely to be a serious challenge to his throne this year."

Boardman is less sure when asked to compare Armstrong to the likes of Merckx and Indurain.

"How does he compare to the greats?

"Well, I think Indurain was the last of his breed. He left the sport with five Tour wins and not a single enemy.

"He was a true gentleman.

"Let's just say that Lance is a very good athlete."

Millar has the engine and the physique and can be an excellent tactician on his day, but he is too volatile to protect the overall lead
Chris Boardman

Boardman is quick to play down the chances of current British star David Millar.

The Scot won the yellow jersey for a spell during his first-ever Tour, but Boardman believes that the odd stage win is the best he can hope for.

He said: "Millar has the ability to win stages because he can beat anyone on his day.

"But he doesn't have the consistency needed to be the overall winner of a major stage race.

"He has the engine and the physique and can be an excellent tactician on his day, but he is too volatile to protect the overall lead.

"Millar needs to be able to stay focused, which is difficult over 21 days.

"There is no doubt in my mind that the Tour de France is the hardest sporting event there is.

"Put it this way, it must be the only one where you need a haircut halfway through."





Links to more Tour de France 2003 stories


 

VOTE RESULTS
Who is most likely to challenge Lance Armstrong this year?
Joseba Beloki
 12.50% 
Tyler Hamilton
 22.82% 
Jan Ullrich
 64.68% 
504 Votes Cast
Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion

TOUR DE FRANCE 2003


STAGE REPORTS
 

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