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Lance Armstrong wins small race in California

LANCE Armstrong won the Nevada City Classic yesterday, holding off teammate Levi Leipheimer in the challenging one-day race in the Sierra Nevada foothills.

Armstrong finished a repeated 1.1-mile (1.8-kilimeter) circuit through the historic mining town in 1 hour, 28 minutes and 20 seconds, sprinting away from the peloton with about six laps to go on the hilly course.

Ben Jacques-Maynes finished 21 seconds behind in second place. Leipheimer, the three-time Tour of California champion, was third, 1 second behind Jacques-Maynes.

More than 15,000 fans cheered on Armstrong, the seven-time Tour de France winner, in the 49th edition of the Northern California race. Armstrong, who last appeared in the race 19 years ago, only committed to the Nevada City Classic five days earlier as he prepares for another run at the Tour after a 3 1/2-year absence from cycling.

"What a great Nevada City Classic," Armstrong said in a posting on his Twitter account. "I managed to get the win, Levi Leipheimer was 3rd. HARD race. The crowds? Electric..."

Armstrong finished 12th in the Giro D'Italia last month. His fourth child, a son named Max, was born June 5.


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