Armstrong avoids crash in 3rd stage

ADELAIDE: Lance Armstrong has avoided a crash that forced six riders to withdraw, including defending champion Andre Greipel of Germany, in the third stage of the Tour Down Under.

Greipel, who also won Tuesday''s first stage, went out in the crash on the 11th kilometer of the 136-kilometer stage on Thursday. Australian Graeme Brown won the stage.

Armstrong, in his comeback race after returning from a three-year retirement, showed signs of his race form by joining an early breakaway of about 15 riders. But the leading group faded.

"It was hard,'''' Armstrong said. "It wasn''t a consistent wind, it was really swirling.

"I felt all right, but that high-end intensity I don''t have yet and that''s the bottom line.''''