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Armstrong takes 13th stage: rivals wilt

Lance Armstrong tightened his control of the race today with his first stage win of this year’s Tour after outsprinting Ivan Basso to the summit of Plateau de Beille.

Like the day before, the thirteenth stage saw Armstrong and Basso escape the rest of the field and battle against the hills, the Basque supporters, and each other, but this time it was Armstrong’s day. It wasn’t a good day for Armstrong’s challengers, Ullrich came in 2.42 behind the Texan while Spanish contenders Iban Mayo and Roberto Heras lost a huge amount of time, coming in at 37:40
and 21:35 respectively. American Tyler Hamilton, who’d been looking so strong in the lead up to the Tour, was one of the five riders who abandoned the Tour.

Following the stage Ullrich announced that he knew he now had no chance against Armstrong. Mayo had come perilously close to giving up altogether after struggling with the stage’s seven categorised climbs.

Coming second to Armstrong in battle of the day was Voeckler who gave everything to retain his yellow jersey, crossing the finish 4:42 behind the leaders. The gap between himself and Armstrong is now down to just twenty-two seconds.

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