Lance Armstrong missed out on donning the Tour de France’s yellow leader’s jersey by the slimmest of margins–fractions of a second–after his Astana squad won the team trial today, besting Boulder’s Garmin-Slipstream team by 18 seconds. A number of teams faced difficulties over the winding, hilly, windswept course in Montpellier, with at least five teams dealing with crashes.
Astana and Garmin-Slipstream are now dominating the general classification: Astana has four of the top five riders in the race after today’s stage, while Garmin has four–including Christian Vande Velde–in the top 12 overall.
Tomorrow’s stage should be another showcase for the sprinters. The next big action will come Friday as the race heads for a difficult summit finish in the Pyrenees. Look for a shootout between Astana and Garmin, with Lance poised to take the yellow jersey.