Armstrong more prominent in 2nd stage

ADELAIDE, Australia (AP) - Lance Armstrong took a more prominent role on the second day of his comeback race, featuring in two attacks during the second stage of the Tour Down Under on Wednesday.

Armstrong rode at the front of the peleton and kept his pre-race promise to attack when the opportunity presented itself, moving ahead on two hill sections late in the stage.

He was in 120th place on Tuesday and was expected to be placed much higher when the classifications were announced.

Australian Allan Davis, riding for the Belgian Quick Step team, won the stage in a bunch sprint.

"I feel OK, but it was very hard," said Armstrong, the seven-time Tour de France winner who is making his return to cycling after three years in retirement. "Attacking on the hills wasn’t the smartest thing to do."

On Tuesday in the first stage, blast-furnace style winds lifted temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius (103 degrees Fahrenheit) and tested even the fittest riders, almost all of them younger than him, although Armstrong, 37, said he was happy with his first day at work.

"I feel better," he said at the time. "It’s nice to get one under way and tomorrow’s another hard day. I want to take it day by day but I think the early indications are that I feel pretty good, pretty strong."

Andre Greipel of Germany, the winner of last year’s race, took out the first stage by a bike length in a bunch finish.

Armstrong coasted to the stage finish near the back of the peleton Tuesday and, unfazed by the heat and the day’s exertion, spent 20 minutes talking with Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.

The race ends Sunday.

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