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Stage 13's ill-fated have-a-go-hero, Chris Horner (28th at 15-10 on GC), on Friday morning paid tribute to his countryman Lance Armstrong and predicted that the Texan would cruise to his seventh consecutive Tour de France title.
Having already proved a hit with the press thanks to his boundless enthusiasm in this, his first Tour de France, the Saunier Duval star endeared himself to the French public in Montpellier as he came within 500 metres of an heroic stage win on Friday. Sadly, Horner was denied when breakaway companion Sylvain Chavanel dallied and the two were mopped up by a bunch from which Robbie McEwen bolted to his third stage win of the Tour.
Earlier in the day, sheltering from the torrid Mediterranean heat on the steps of his Saunier Duval team bus, Horner had gone beyond patriotic duty with his praise of Armstrong.
"Whether you like [Lance] or not, the fact is that the boy can ride a bike," said Horner. "Tactically, he's got everything right. Every year people say that he might not have prepared right or that this guy or that guy's riding better, then we get to the top of first climb and he blows everyone away. In the peloton, there was talk of chinks in his armour on the first day in the Vosges. Everyone saw the way his team collapsed and thought 'Wow!'. You can't just be the best rider in the Tour de France, you need a good team, too, or else you need to be lucky.
"After that first day in the hills everyone thought T-Mobile could beat Lance with numbers. At Courchevel, Lance had clearly solved whatever problem his team had. Lance is obviously the best guy in the race and if some of his team-mates weren't riding for him they would probably be second, third, fourth, fifth on GC too. Unless LA has a bad day, a very bad day or his team falls apart, from now to Paris you're going to see status quo."
Horner pays tribute to ArmstrongClose
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