Lance Armstrong took a more prominent role on the second day of his comeback race, putting together two attacks during the second stage of the Tour Down Under on Wednesday.
Armstrong rode at the front of the peleton and kept his pre-race
promise to attack when the opportunity presented itself, moving
ahead on two hill sections late in the stage.
He was in 120th place on Tuesday and was expected to be placed
much higher when the classifications were announced.
Australian Allan Davis, riding for the Belgian Quick Step team,
won the stage in a bunch sprint.
"I feel OK, but it was very hard," said Armstrong, a
seven-time Tour de France winner who is making his return to
cycling after three years in retirement. "Attacking on the hills
wasn't the smartest thing to do."
In Tuesday's first stage, blast-furnace style winds lifted
temperatures above 103 degrees and tested even the fittest riders,
almost all of them younger than the 37-year-old Armstrong.
"I feel better," he said at the time. "It's nice to get one
under way and tomorrow's another hard day. I want to take it day by
day but I think the early indications are that I feel pretty good,
Andre Greipel of Germany, the winner of last year's race, won
the first stage by a bike length in a bunch finish.
Armstrong coasted to the finish near the back of the peleton
Tuesday and, unfazed by the heat, spent 20 minutes talking with
Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.
The race ends Sunday.