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TOUR DE FRANCE

Armstrong stays 6th, rips press

FIGEAC, France -- Lance Armstrong finished ninth in yesterday's 11th stage of the Tour de France and accused French reporters of trying to rummage through his hotel room in hopes of finding evidence of doping.

Frenchman David Moncoutie won the stage. Countryman Thomas Voeckler kept the overall leader's yellow jersey, still 9 minutes 35 seconds ahead of the sixth-placed Armstrong.

Armstrong, bidding for a record sixth straight Tour de France title, said a TV crew from France 3 attempted to get access to his room after he left to race in the 102-mile stage from Saint-Flour to Figeac in central France.

Armstrong insists he has never taken performance-enhancing drugs but is worried he might be framed.

The Texan said one reporter has been following the team for months, calling the conduct "scandalous." The France 3 investigative reporter in question, Hugues Huet, confirmed he went to the hotel to talk to Armstrong aides about his teammates and chatted to the hotel manager for a few minutes.

"It's completely ridiculous," Huet told the Associated Press. "We do have ethics and we don't do just anything. Armstrong was in a group that finished 5:58 behind Moncoutie's mark of 3 hours 54 minutes 58 seconds. That group also included Armstrong rivals Jan Ullrich, Iban Mayo, Tyler Hamilton of Marblehead, Mass., and Ivan Basso.. . .
Tour de France fans can get a fix this weekend. Thirty Regal Cinemas nationwide will show the race in theaters tomorrow morning. Locally, the Outdoor Life Network broadcast of tomorrow's Stage 13 will be shown at the Regal (Hoyt's) theater in the Solomon Pond Mall in Berlin.

Registration is from 7-9 a.m. at the theater, or online at www.tylerhamiltonfoudation.org. Tickets are $25 for the viewing, breakfast, and a pin; $40 includes a T-shirt. The mountain stage will air from 7:30-11:30 a.m.

All the proceeds go the Tyler Hamilton Foundation, which raises money to fight multiple sclerosis.

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