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French President Nicolas Sarkozy praised Lance Armstrong’s new lease on life after watching Wednesday’s 17th stage in the race’s director car.

“Armstrong has won seven Tours and he is coming back at 37 with the state of mind of a young man,” Sarkozy told French TV after the stage. “He is coming back to make a good result, to enjoy it—and to fight for his foundation. And God knows how much we need to fight against cancer. It’s giving hope to all the ill people.”

A longtime admirer of Armstrong, Sarkozy repeated his commitment to the fight against doping and defended the Tour’s efforts to eradicate it, such as the  …  Details

Lance Armstrong had another hard day on the saddle on Wednesday yet the American was convinced he could still snatch the runner-up spot on the Tour de France.

The seven-times Tour champion could not follow the Schleck brothers or Astana team mate Alberto Contador in the demanding ascent to the Col de Romme and dropped from second to fourth overall in the standings.

When the road turned skyward and Frank Schleck attacked, the 37-year-old Texan could not keep pace.

“I could not find my acceleration to go with the other guys,” Armstrong, on his comeback Tour four years after his last triumph, told reporters.

The American was then in a small chasing group but team tactics prevented him from stepping up a gear—such a move could have brought back Garmin-Slipstream rival Bradley Wiggins of Britain in contention.

“I was here stuck with Wiggins. I just could not go, I had to wait until it got steeper when I could definitely pull away.”   …  Details

 Frank Schleck promised to repay his younger brother Andy after their relentless attacks earned him victory in the most punishing stage of the Tour de France on Wednesday.

Frank took the 17th stage featuring five climbs, including the gruelling Col de Romme, and finished ahead of overall leader Alberto Contador and Andy.

He now is third overall, 3 minutes and 25 seconds behind Contador with Andy in second place, 2:26 off the pace.

“I am very proud of my brother,” the Luxembourg rider told a news conference.

“We had a team meeting in the bus this morning and we knew we had nothing to lose. Andy was there and he is not scared of anything, he motivated me.

“He did a great job and sacrificed himself in the last three kilometres. I know how to repay him in the coming days. I will do everything so that he can finish on the podium.”   …  Details

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