Four-time defending champion Lance Armstrong of the United States has recovered from a fall on the final climb to capture the 159.5-kilometer, 15th stage of the Tour de France cycling race. It was his first stage victory in this year's Tour. Iban Mayo of Spain was second, while Jan Ullrich of Germay was third.
Armstrong apparently clipped a spectator four kilometers into Monday's final climb and crashed to the ground along with Mayo. But he jumped back up on his bike and, riding like a man possessed, attacked immediately.
The American, who held a 15 second lead over the second-placed Ullrich heading into the stage, blew past his rivals. He crossed the finish line ahead of Mayo and Ullrich in four hours, 29 minutes and 26 seconds, increasing his overall lead to one minute and seven seconds.
Alexander Vinokourov of Kazakhstan, who had been 18 seconds behind Armstrong, completed Monday's stage two minutes and 26 seconds back. He remains in third place overall, two minutes and 45 seconds behind the American.
Armstrong's win allows him to keep the leader's yellow jersey and greatly increases the four-time champion's chances of equaling Miguel Indurain's record of five successive Tour wins.