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Dutch Cyclist Servais Knaven Wins 17th Stage of Tour de France


Dutch cyclist Servais Knaven won the 17th stage of the Tour de France Thursday, but American Lance Armstrong is still the overall leader.

Servais Knaven is the first Dutch cyclist to win a stage at this year's tour. The 17th stage covered flat roads from Dax here to Bordeaux and Knaven said it was fitting that he won because the ride reminded him of home.

"In the Netherlands, we think that Bordeaux is kind of a little Dutch city, like belonging to the Dutch fans," he said. "Also the landscape is almost the same. And it was all flat, so for me, of course it was extra motivation."

Knaven was able finish 17 seconds ahead of a breakaway group of 10 riders that peddled ahead near the start of the 181-kilometer leg. Knaven made his solo move about 80 kilometers from the finish and with riders from 10 different teams in the breakaway group, no one chased him down.

Through an interpreter, he said it gave him great pleasure to win, especially the way he did. "I'm a very different kind of rider," he said. "And I'm always very good with second or third place. But I'm not one who is able to win a lot, but sometimes it happens."

The best previous win for Servais Knaven was in the Paris-to-Roubaix race two years ago when he also was victorious with a decisive solo move away from the field. Tour de France overall leader Lance Armstrong of the United States was content during Thursday's stage to stay with the main pack, which finished eight minutes and 6 seconds behind Knaven.

Armstrong and his closest pursuer, Jan Ullrich, crossed the line only one position apart. So Armstrong maintains a 67 second lead over the German with only three stages remaining.

The race concludes Sunday in Paris.

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