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'I want to win sixth title'.

Lance Armstrong has warned his rivals he will not relax after claiming his fifth Tour de France victory and immediately set his sights on win number six.

The American became just the fifth man in history to win five Tour titles yesterday when he comfortably held off the challenge of German Jan Ullrich.

Armstrong said: "This is my fifth victory, this is like a dream. It's hard to think about it and find the right words.

"This was definitely my most difficult race out of the five. I am very, very happy because it is over and I am very tired.

"I have always loved cycling and I made it my job. Next year I will be back to try to win a sixth title."

The American, riding for the US Postal team, claimed his fifth Tour title to join an elite group of cyclists, including legends Eddy Merckx, Jacques Anquetil, Bernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain who have achieved the feat.

The modest 31-year-old, however, who has dominated the Tour since 1999, preferred to acknowledge the efforts of the team behind him.

"This is a great day for me but above all for the US Postal team," Armstrong said. "I would not have managed to win the Tour for the fifth consecutive time without them.

"The fact that this win was so hard to clinch makes it even greater for me.

"I have great admiration for Merckx, Anquetil, Hinault and Indurain.

"They are the giants of cycling, and I don't consider myself like that which is why this is so weird for me."

The French contingent in the vast crowds bayed for Jean-Patrick Nazon to claim the honour of being the first to finish in Paris yesterday and the home hero was overjoyed to win the stage.

Nazon pressed forward, taking a line in front of his nearest rivals to glide over the finish first, fists thrust into the air.

"This is even better than the yellow jersey, a victory that I almost hadn't dared to hope for," Nazon said. "Destiny was with me, this was the chance of my life."
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Jul 28, 2003
Words:351
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