As wild ride continues, Armstrong heads for Modesto

Motorcycle strikes cycling great; next stop is Modesto

February 16, 2009 

  • Submit Your Amgen Tour of California photos

    Did you take some cool photos of cyclists speeding through Modesto streets on Tuesday afternoon at the Amgen Tour of California? Any shots of fans cheering the riders on? If you did, we'd love to see them and post them to our Web site. Just click here to upload them to our site, and fill out the form. We'll add them a gallery throughout the day on Tuesday, and keep posting throughout the week as long as you send them in. To take a look at what other readers have submitted, go to this link. Thanks to all who have contributed!

SANTA CRUZ -- Maybe Modesto will provide better luck for Lance Armstrong.

A day after the seven-time Tour de France winner discovered his time-trial bike had been stolen in Sacramento, Armstrong took a spill Monday when he got tangled with a motorcycle.

Despite the troubles, Armstrong moved up a spot in the overall standings at the Tour of California after a rainy and crash-filled second stage.

Two-time defending champion Levi Leipheimer of Santa Rosa became the third different race leader. He emerged from a chasing group on the final climb with about 17 miles left before finishing a close second to stage winner Thomas Peterson. Peterson won the 115.9-mile Sausalito to Santa Cruz road race in 5 hours, 6 minutes and 20 seconds.

The 104.2-mile Stage 3 runs today from San Jose to Modesto, with riders entering Modesto on Kansas Avenue and crossing the finish line at 11th and I streets.

The peloton is expected to enter the city at around 3 p.m., when there is about a 40 percent chance on rain.

On Monday, strong wind and heavy rain hampered the field through most of the stage, which crossed the Golden Gate Bridge shortly after the start. Armstrong, who is making a comeback after a 3½-year retirement, had his mishap about 80 miles into the stage.

"A motorcycle for the photographer from the race crashed right in front of me," Armstrong said. "Unfortunate, but it could have been worse. I don't feel too bad, hip is a little banged up but overall a great day. Levi proved he is the best guy in the race hands down."

Armstrong quickly received a spare bike from a team car and returned to the field with the assistance of teammate Jose Luis Rubiera of Spain.

Armstrong, who began the day in fifth place overall, is now fourth, 30 seconds behind. He finished 13th in the stage.

Floyd Landis, who was stripped of his 2006 Tour de France championship and is now competing for the first time following a two-year doping suspension, is 29th overall, 6:04 behind.

In addition to Armstrong's crash, a group of 15 riders also crashed during the stage. Andy Jacques-Maynes crashed into a parked car and left the race in an ambulance. He suffered head and ankle injuries not considered serious, said Ben Jacques-Maynes, his brother and teammate.

Leipheimer, who began the day trailing former race leader Francisco Mancebo of Spain by 1 minute and 2 seconds, now leads the race's fourth edition by 24 seconds over Michael Rogers of Australia. David Zabriskie of Salt Lake City is third overall, trailing Leipheimer by 28 seconds.

Leipheimer, who earned his fifth Tour of California career stage win, rode among teammates, including Armstrong, throughout much of the stage.

Leipheimer launched off the front of a group chasing Carlos Barredo of Spain, who pedaled in a solo lead until he began to lag on the final climb.

Modesto Bee is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service