July 05, 2004
Armstrong adds to 3rd-stage jitters
A lot of the riders are very nervous about the 2+ miles of cobblestones on tomorrow's Stage 3 of the Tour de France.
Lance Armstrong spoke for the peloton:
"I think everybody is worried about the cobbles - even the riders who are good on them are worried," Armstrong said.
"You could be involved in a crash and that would mean the end of your Tour. Somebody's Tour will be over on Tuesday and I could be one of those people."
The second stretch of cobbles are part of Paris-Roubaix, the spring classic also known as "The Hell of the North." Magnus Backstedt won the 2004 edition, but their inclusion on the Tour is controversial, because it's not that big a deal to lose 5 minutes in a classic; you're just smoked for the day. In a grand tour, you can be hosed for 3 weeks.
Armstrong acknowledged the historical place of the pavé:
"At the same time, the cobbles are a big part of French cycling. If you look at Paris-Roubaix, they are a beautiful thing, if you look at it like that, you should say they should be part of the Tour."
Some teams will likely want to conserve effort in advance of Wednesday's team time trial.
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