Armstrong to equal Hinault's jersey haul in 17th stage

Updated: July 20, 2005, 2:02 AM ET
Reuters

PAU, France, July 19 - Four days before he is expected to seal a record seventh Tour de France victory on the Champs Elysees, Lance Armstrong will reach another milestone in Wednesday's 17th stage to from Pau to Revel.

At the end of the 239.5-km run, the longest in this year's race, the American will receive the leader's yellow jersey for the 79th time in his career, equalling five-times Tour champion Bernard Hinault.

Hinault, the last Frenchman to have won the race in 1985, lies second in the all-time list behind Belgian Eddy Merckx, who won 111 yellow jerseys between 1969 and 1977.

Probably unaware of such statistics, the 156 riders left in the bunch will hope for the longest day to coincide with a farewell to arms after a final nervous day in the mountains.

Ironically, the jersey at stake in the stage will most probably be the green one for the Tour's best sprinter, with the flat terrain pointing to a mass sprint finish.

Norway's Thor Hushovd will be hoping to strengthen his current lead in the points classification over Australians Stuart O'Grady and Robbie McEwen. Hushovd is on 164 points, while O'Grady has 150 and McEwen, winner of three stages, 142.

Revel has hosted six Tour stage finishes in the past and the last winner in 2000 was Dutchman Erik Dekker, who is still in the Tour and will be hoping for a repeat win if he can join a breakaway.

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index

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