Lance Armstrong could not tell right away how much weight he burnt off in a stifling and humid second stage of the Tour de France, marred by crashes and won by sprint king Mark Cavendish.
The seven-time Tour champion, currently 10th in the overall standings — 40 seconds behind race leader Fabian Cancellara — spent the day in the peloton without taking any risks. Asked about how Sunday's stage went, Armstrong simply said: “Hot.”
The American, who entered the race at 72.5 kilograms (160 pounds) — lighter than he was during his dominant spell at the Tour — said he will watch his weight carefully.
Riders need to keep their weight down, but being too light can suggest they are dehydrated, which would reduce performance. "It's hard to hydrate. But you know, it's hot for everybody," Armstrong said. Armstrong finished 80th in the stage. He only trails his rival and teammate Alberto Contador by 22 seconds. And even if the Spaniard is the clear favorite to win the race, Armstrong cannot be written off for the title.
The two men were very cautious Sunday in a stage tailor-made for sprinters. "Just avoid trouble and get in the rhythm of the race," Armstrong said, summing up his journey in the Mediterranean hinterland.
In the overall standings, Cancellara, who finished 38th, leads Contador by 18 seconds. Bradley Wiggins of Britain is third. Armstrong said he had recovered well from Saturday's time-trial and pointed out the lack of competition before the Tour to explain his respectable 10th place-finish in Monaco.