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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 July, 2003, 03:56 GMT 04:56 UK
Millar: Armstrong can be toppled
Vinokourov (left) and Armstrong
Armstrong (right) may be pushed by Vinokourov in the Pyrenees
Briton David Millar expects Lance Armstrong's Tour de France lead to come under serious threat when the race hits the Pyrenees.

The Tour resumes on Thursday after a rest day with the 153.5km 11th stage from Narbonne to Toulouse, and Armstrong seemingly not as dominant as in recent years.

The defending champion seemed to wobble on the Alpe d'Huez on Sunday as his rivals launched attack after attack.

And, although the Texan rode himself into the yellow jersey that day, Millar predicts more tough times ahead.

"I think the race is going to go crazy in the Pyrenees," he said.

Even the crash-induced absence of ONCE rider Joseba Beloki may not save the American, according to Millar.

"It's going to be harder for Lance now even though Beloki's gone.

"At least when Beloki was there Lance knew who to control.

"Now, the attacks could come from anywhere and the Euskaltel riders are going to try and rip the race to pieces."

Vinokourov's all class - he brings a whole new dimension to the race
Brad McGee

Foremost in the Euskaltel set-up are Haimar Zubeldia, Roberto Laiseka and young upstart Iban Mayo - who won the Alpe d'Huez stage.

But the man who many experts are picking to be Armstrong's biggest threat is talented Telekom rider Alexandre Vinokourov.

Winner of the Paris-Nice, the Amstel Gold race and the Tour of Switzerland in 2003, the Kazakh lies second overall in Le Tour only 21 seconds adrift.

"I had Vinokourov on the podium even before the race started," said Australian Brad McGee.

"He's all class. He can climb, he's not too bad in the time trial and I think he brings a whole new dimension to the race.

"Lance Armstrong doesn't have to focus all his attention on him, but he certainly shouldn't underestimate him.

"As for challenging Lance, we'll see how the legs are when we go into the Pyrenees after a rest day," Vinokourov said.

Links to more Tour de France 2003 stories





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