July 7 2009, 10:42 AM
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.