Lance Armstrong 68th in Aussie prelude


ADELAIDE, Australia -- Australian Matthew Goss won the criterium prelude to the Tour Down Under cycling race Sunday, and Lance Armstrong started his last professional event outside the United States by finishing 68th.

Goss edged compatriot and HTC Highroad teammate Mark Renshaw at the finish, while Robbie McEwen of Armstrong's Team RadioShack rallied for third after being stopped by a crash 500 meters from the finish.

The pileup at the end of the 30-lap, 32-mile race brought down 2010 criterium winner Greg Henderson and disrupted teams' efforts to set up the finish for sprinters Mark Cavendish of Britain and Andre Greipel of Germany, the 2010 Tour Down Under champion.

Armstrong, who doesn't relish the hazardous, wheel-to-wheel racing in criteriums, mostly stayed in the middle and avoided the crash. Henderson was not hurt.

Goss and Renshaw avoided the chaos at the next to last corner that ended many top riders' hopes of winning the race in parkland near Adelaide's business district. Goss finished in 1 hour, 5 minutes, 12 seconds, with the top 16 riders being given the same time.

Tyler Farrar, riding for the Garmin-Cervelo team, was the top American in 18th, 6 seconds behind the leaders.

McEwen, a 12-time stage winner at the Tour de France and a three-time winner of the tour's sprint classification, recovered from a seemingly impossible situation to share the podium with his fellow Australians in his first ride for Armstrong's team.

"It was a good result from the position I came from and promising for the rest of the week," McEwen said.

"Had it not happened, I reckon I could have won. But for the first result of the year and considering being stopped with 500 meters to go, it was as good as a win."

Finishes in Sunday's race do not count toward overall standings.

The Tour Down Under officially begins Tuesday with a 90-miles stage through South Australia State.