Geraint Thomas

Armstrong's luck falls flat

ARENBERG, France — A punctured tire Tuesday may have popped the balloon of Lance Armstrong's Tour de France chances.

After an ill-timed flat left Armstrong pedaling furiously and ultimately alone, without a teammate left to lead him back to the front, the seven-time champion fell from fifth overall to 18th after the 132.36-mile Stage 3 from Wanze, Belgium, to the finish line here, the first in France.

Yet not even his ferocious efforts over the last few miles into this mining town — where dust covered the bikes and coated the faces of riders — could save him from dropping chunks of time to some of his main rivals. He is 2 minutes, 30 seconds behind Switzerland's Fabian...