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2005 Tour de France
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Tour de France notebook

Lance's teammate Popovych named top young rider

Posted: Sunday July 24, 2005 9:53PM; Updated: Sunday July 24, 2005 9:53PM
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Yaroslav Popovych, a Lance Armstrong teammate, won the top young rider award.
Bongarts/Getty Images

PARIS (AP) -- Thor Hushovd of Norway clinched the green jersey for best overall sprinter, and Denmark's Mickael Rasmussen won the red-and-white polka-dot jersey as best climber in the Tour de France.

Lance Armstrong's teammate, Yaroslav Popovych of Ukraine, was awarded the white jersey as top young rider.

Although Hushovd did not win a stage this year, he collected enough points to beat the Australian duo of Stuart O'Grady and Robbie McEwen, who finished second and third, respectively.

Hushovd, who rides for the Credit Agricole team, totaled 194 points, Cofidis rider O'Grady had 182, and McEwen of Davitamon-Lotto 178.

Rasmussen, winner of one mountain stage, finished well ahead of Spaniard Oscar Pereiro and seven-time Tour winner Armstrong in the climbing competition. Rasmussen totaled 185 points, Pereiro 155, and Armstrong 99.

Popovych, thought to be a possible future leader of the Discovery Channel team, dominated the white jersey category. Contenders have to be under 25 years old, and the award is calculated by the overall classification from the 23-day race.

Popovych's final time was 86 hours, 34 minutes, 4 seconds. Andrey Kashechkin of Kazakhstan was 9 minutes, 2 seconds behind, while Spaniard Alberto Contador was 44:23 adrift.

"I am part of a beautiful team, the best in the world," said Popovych, who praised Armstrong.

"He's our boss, a big personality. He is very strong mentally, he is a great champion."

Train ride: Lance Armstrong boarded the Tour de France train for the last time as he headed to Corbeil-Essonnes for the start of the 21st and final stage.

The remaining 155 cyclists left Saint-Etienne early Sunday morning on a special train that took them into Corbeil-Essonnes, on the outskirts of Paris, where the stage began.

Armstrong reclined in his chair and gazed out the window as he listened to music. Next to him was Johan Bruyneel, the Discovery Channel team director and close friend, who has worked alongside him on each of his seven Tour wins.

Dressed in tracksuit bottoms, long cream-colored socks and a Nike T-shirt bearing the "10/2" logo -- marking the date in 1996 when he was diagnosed with testicular cancer -- Armstrong chatted to Jan Ullrich and Ivan Basso. Both joined Armstrong later on the Tour podium, Italian Basso in second place, and German Ullrich in third.

Doctor's report: Sunday's final stage into Paris is traditionally a leisurely ride, where racers bid farewell to the exhausting 23-day race with laps around the Champs-Elysees.

However, several crashed on rain-slickened roads and had to be treated for minor injuries.

Spaniard Francisco Mancebo had cuts on his left thigh, while Australian Bradley McGee cut his left hip, elbow and hand -- but recovered to finish in second place.

Eight cyclists were treated, including Lance Armstrong's teammate Paolo Savoldelli, who complained of respiratory problems.

All completed the stage.

Record speed: It's official: This year's Tour de France, Lance Armstrong's last, was the fastest in the race's 102 years.

Armstrong completed the 2,232 miles in 86 hours, 15 minutes, 2 minutes for his seventh successive win. That worked out at an average speed of 25.88 mph.

The previous fastest Tour was in 2003, when Armstrong matched the then-record of five straight wins. The speed that year was 25.44 mph.

The first Tour, in 1903, was raced at an average speed of 15.95 mph.

Tour organizers said tail winds, better preparation, equipment, training and roads were all contributing factors.

Crow tears: Rocker Sheryl Crow could not hold back the tears as boyfriend Armstrong mounted the Tour de France podium for the last time.

"This is the way he wanted to finish his career," Crow said after watching the American clinch his seventh straight win. "So it's very emotional."

Crow thoroughly enjoyed her second Tour, but was also facing up to life after watching cycling.

"I'll go back to work now," she said. "Back to real life, whatever that looks like."

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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