Armstrong's lead secure as cyclists finish mountains

American stays in pack, has 5:36 overall advantage

Tour De France


LAUSANNE, Switzerland - The Tour de France said goodbye to the Alps - and, briefly, to France - as riders left from Evian to cover one mountain, cross the border, and finish here, the home of the International Olympic Committee.

Lance Armstrong's lead was secure as he held onto the yellow jersey that he will likely - barring a crash - wear into Paris, while Erik Dekker of the Netherlands won the race in a sprint finish.

Armstrong was without some of his biggest rivals as he stayed with the pack for the entire 96-mile ride that made a wide loop around Lake Geneva. Italian Marco Pantani, citing intestinal problems, didn't start, and Switzerland's Alex Zulle dropped out early.

Pantani won the Tour in 1998, and Zulle was second to Armstrong last summer.

Dekker, an Olympic silver medalist in 1992, said he surprised himself with his third stage win of the Tour.

"I didn't imagine it would happen," he said. The record for Dutch victories in a Tour is four stages.

"I actually felt worse today than two weeks ago," said Rodriguez, the U.S. national champion who rides for the Italian Mapei team. "But it's my first Tour, and you have your good days and bad days."

The overall standings stayed the same, with Jan Ullrich more than five minutes behing Armstrong.

17th stage

(from Evian-les-Bains, France, to Lausanne, Switzerland)

1. Erik Dekker, Holland, Rabobank, 3 hours, 24 minutes, 53 seconds.

2. Erik Zabel, Germany, Deutsche Telekom, same time.

3. Fred Rodriguez, United States, Mapei, same time.

4. Francois Simon, France, Bonjour, same time.

5. Robbie McEwen, Australia, Farm Frites, same time.

6. Mario Aerts, Belgium, Lotto, same time.

7. Massimiliano Mori, Italy, Saeco, same time.

8. Romans Vainsteins, Latvia, Vini Cadriola, same time.

9. Nico Mattan, Belgium, Cofidis, same time.

10. Christophe Moreau, France, Festina, same time.

11. Markus Zberg, Switzerland, Rabobank, same time.

12. Emmanuel Magnien, France, Francaise Des Jeux, same time.

13. Massimo Apollonio, Italy, Vini Cadiola, same time.

14. Andrei Kivilev, Kazakstan, AG2R, same time.

15. Manuel Beltran, Spain, Mapei, same time.


35. Lance Armstrong, United States, U.S. Postal Service, same time.

64. Tyler Hamilton, United States, U.S. Postal Service, 1:06 behind.

66. Bobby Julich, United States, Credit Agricole, same time.

Overall standings

(After 17 stages)

1. Lance Armstrong, United States, U.S. Postal, 75 hours, 37 minutes, 23 seconds.

2. Jan Ullrich, Germany, Deutshe Telekom, 5:37 behind.

3. Joseba Beloki, Spain, Festina, 6:38.

4. Roberto Heras, Spain, Kelme, 6:43.

5. Richard Virenque, France, Polti, 7:36.

6. Moreau, 8:22.

7. Santiago Botero, Colombia, Kelme, 10:19.

8. Fernando Escartin, Spain, Kelme, 11:35.

9. Francisco Mancebo, Spain, Banesto, 13:07.

10. Beltran, 13:08.

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