Online bookmakers are offering free bets to new customers on the final stages of the 2010 Tour de France in which seven-time winner Lance Armstrong is making his farewell appearance.
When three crashes on stage 8 had destroyed any hopes of competing for the podium, the 38-year-old Texan told followers he would enjoy the rest of the Tour and take the chance to appreciate his fans.
The American made his bid to repay fans’ adulation when going for stage victory on an historic day when the Tour celebrated 100 years since the inclusion of the Pyrenees.
He made his intentions clear from the start when joining the initial 18-man break on the first climb; as attacks came and went on the four big climbs, Armstrong maintained his position in the lead group.
He chose not go with Carlos Barredo who struck on his own 45km out, staying with the group who eventually caught the brave Spaniard 1km from the line.
The remaining eight riders jockeyed for position on the approach to the line, Armstrong made a bid to sprint from the back of the group but sadly, didn’t have the legs to make it to the front.
Afterwards he paid tribute to the fans and reflected on the stage, saying: “I’m not the best guy in the race this year, but I still have the spirit of a fighter. I focused on the stage, I got myself up in the moves but it didn’t work. I just wasn’t fast enough in the end.”
The stage was won by Pierrick Fedrigo who was giving France their sixth stage victory of the Tour, to equal their best performance in their own Tour since 1992.
The Tour rests today before the anticipated showdown between Tour leaders Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck.
Schleck must regain the yellow jersey on climb up Le Tourmalet to have any hope of victory, Bookmaker Paddy Power is offering odds of 5/2 for him to reach the summit first tomorrow.