Lance Armstrong Digs into Rival

A feud is said to be brewing over in Courchevel, France, where American Tour de France leader Lance Armstrong angrily — and publicly — denounced star Italian climber Marco Pantani yesterday, calling him “Elefantino” — which translates into “Dumbo.” (Pantani has big ears.) Speaking at a news conference on the second of two days off during the race, Armstrong said he ha d made an error in allowing Pantani to win a daily stage on Mont Ventoux last Thursday. Observers called the move the gracious act of a champ, said The New York Times, but Pantani complained to a French newspaper, “When Armstrong said, ‘Faster, faster,’ to get me to accelerate, he was trying to provoke me.” Countered Armstrong about his rival’s quote: “It’s unfortunate he’s showing his true colors.” Counter-countered Pantani: “If Armstrong thinks the Tour is over, he’s wrong. In any case, he hasn’t finished with me.” The Tour resumes today.

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