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Stage 18: Armstrong silences rivals' last gasps

Lance Armstrong shook off the final challenges from his desperate rivals in the hilly 18th stage Thursday to retain the yellow jersey he's worn since the Alps.

Updated: July 21, 2005, 3:34 PM ET
By Andrew Hood | Special to ESPN.com

MENDE, France -- The official countdown can begin.

Lance Armstrong shook off the final challenges from his desperate rivals in the hilly 18th stage Thursday, across the sunbaked Massif Central, to retain the yellow jersey he's donned since the Alps.

From here to Paris, only three days remain of The Armstrong Era.

"You enjoy yourself more when you know it's almost over," Armstrong said. "My career is almost over, it's a nice feeling."

Things have been going great in Armstrong's ...

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