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Lance Armstrong Crashes Before Start of Tour de France Stage

July 17 (Bloomberg) -- Lance Armstrong’s final Tour de France isn’t getting any better.

The seven-time champion, who dropped down the standings after a puncture and several accidents in the last two weeks, crashed before reaching the start line of today’s 13th stage, according to the race website. The stage is a mainly flat 122-mile ride between Rodez and Revel.

Armstrong fell on the 4-mile ride to the start before getting back on his bike and rejoining the other 176 riders still in the race, letour.com said, without giving more details. He is 32nd in the standings, more than 21 minutes behind race leader Andy Schleck.

The 38-year-old Texan said last month this will be his last Tour. On July 11, he said his chances of a final title ended after he clipped a curb coming out of a roundabout and crashed during the first Alps stage. It was one of three crashes on the same day for Armstrong, who barely had a mishap in winning the race seven times through 2005.

The Tour enters the Pyrenees tomorrow for the first of four mountain stages in five days. Defending champion Alberto Contador trimmed Schleck’s lead to 31 seconds yesterday. The race ends July 25 in Paris.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alex Duff in Madrid aduff4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at celser@bloomberg.net

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