Armstrong shows strength ahead of Tour by winning Dauphine Libere

Monday, June 17th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

GENEVA (AP) _ The Tour de France is three weeks away, but Lance Armstrong has already begun taming the French mountains.

On Sunday he won the Dauphine Libere, his last tuneup race before bidding for a fourth straight Tour title.

Armstrong finished with an overall lead of 2 minutes and 3 seconds over second-ranked U.S. Postal Service teammate and fellow American Floyd Landis. France's Christophe Moreau, who rides for Credit Agricole, was third overall.

Spaniard Jose Enrique Gutierrez, riding for Kelme, won Sunday's 150-kilometer (93-mile) trek between Morzine, France and Geneva in 3 hours, 38 minutes and 45 seconds. Christophe Oriol of France finished in the same time and Australia's Bradley McGee was third, 35 seconds behind.

Armstrong finished with the main pack, 3:19 behind Gutierrez.

The one-week Dauphine Libere took riders up the Mont Ventoux, set to be a highlight of the July 6-28 Tour.