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GENERATION GAME IS GIVING INSPIRATION.

Byline: DAVID PRENTICE ,

JUST like at Turnberry, an old guy can lose the Tour de France and still win.

Tom Watson won the hearts and minds of The Open golf gallery with his remarkable performance at the grand old age of 59.

At 37 Lance Armstrong may be 22 years Watson's junior, but in cycling terms that's like Methuselah pulling on a pair of lycra shorts. And this week he has turned defeat into victory.

Currently fourth, almost four minutes behind Alberto Contador, he's already admitted he is racing for runners-up spot.

But his successes will come away from the podium.

He has varnished his already lustrous legend, given the Tour an edge which has been missing in recent years - and given a huge profile to his cancer charity, the primary purpose of his competitive return.

He has even found time to connect with his 1,425,156 fans on social network site Twitter - and received praise from the president of the nation which loves to hate him.

"Armstrong has come back at 37 with the state of mind of a young man, said Nicolas Sarkozy. "He is coming back to fight for his foundation. And God knows how much we need to fight against cancer. It's giving hope to all the ill people."

In a stunning climb up Col du Petit Saint-Bernard, Armstrong also gave just a little hope to older sportsmen and women everywhere.

With a peak 2,188 metres above sea level, a gradient of 8.1 per cent and Bradley Wiggins disappearing over the summit, Armstrong leaped out of the saddle, dug in and reeled in the Lancastrian.

Armstrong now leads Wiggins by 58 seconds.

He is already a winner, regardless of his final Tour finish.

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INSPIRATION: Lance Armstrong
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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jul 24, 2009
Words:295
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