Armstrong out for glory in Tour mountain stage 

Lance Armstrong was making a final bid for Tour de France glory on Tuesday, looking for a win in a Pyrenees stage that includes the legendary Col du Tourmalet.

The American seven-time champion, riding the Tour for the last time at the age of 38, broke away in a small group right at the start of the 16th stage from Bagneres-de-Luchon to Pau, and was on his own for a while.

As the riders started the final ascent of the day, the long Col d'Aubisque, Armstrong was riding in a group of 10, more than six minutes ahead of the main field.

Armstrong, who also had teammate Chris Horner in the group, was taking the largest share of time at the front of the field. The group also included French veteran Christophe Moreau and former Giro d'Italia champion Damiano Cunego.

Armstrong has no chance of winning the overall title but can hope for some glory with a stage win.

Behind, in the main pack, the Astana teammates of defending champion Alberto Contador were leading the charge, as he rode in yellow as overall leader for the first time in this year's race.

Earlier, the Spaniard apologized for the way he took over the lead from rival Andy Schleck. On Monday, he attacked as Schleck suffered a mechanical problem and holds an eight-second lead over the Luxembourg rider.

In a video posted on YouTube, Contador said: "Maybe I made a mistake. I'm sorry. I don't like things like what happened today, I'm not like that and I hope the relationship that I have with Andy can go back to being as good as it was before this happened."

Tuesday's grueling 16th stage is a 124-mile ride that takes in four major climbs, including the Tourmalet.

The 172 riders will take on the Tourmalet for a second time on Thursday, finishing at the top. The race finishes in Paris on Sunday.

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Staff Report

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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