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.
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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.