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Armstrong finishes 10th in prologue

SEVEN-TIME Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong finished 10th in the prologue at the Tour of California in Sacramento on Saturday in the first North America race of his comeback.

Armstrong, who made his comeback debut three weeks ago at the Tour Down Under in Australia, finished in four minutes, 37.17 seconds, 4.2 seconds behind prologue winner Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland.

"It's a new sensation because I haven't trained for efforts like that," Armstrong said after completing the 3.9-kilometer course around California's state Capitol. "We changed the time-trial position a little bit, so it's the first time I got to go as hard as I could with a new position. All in all, I wanted to be top-10, top-15, so I have to be pretty happy."

Cancellara, a former two-time time-trial world titlist, won in 4:32.9 seconds, with American Levi Leipheimer, twice defending race champion, second in 4:34.11. Third was another American David Zabriskie in 4:35.55.

Armstrong, the 130th starter in a field of 136, attracted massive attention. He rode steadily in a tight-tucked position and received the largest cheers on the overcast start of the nine-day race's fourth edition.

"The crowd was amazing, they were like it was in Australia," he said. "People are excited, but I don't think they're as excited as I am. I'm glad to be here and appreciate the support."

Floyd Landis, the dethroned 2006 Tour de France champion competing for the first time following a two-year doping suspension, finished 90th in 4:53.26, more than 20 seconds behind the winner. Landis crashed during a training ride on Thursday.

Carlos Sastre of Spain, the reigning Tour de France titlist who is competing in the US for the first time, finished 114th.


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