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For the fifth consecutive year, Lance Armstrong has won the prestigious Tour de France, which, next to the World Soccer Cup, is the most popular sporting event in all of Europe.

Armstrong and his American mates were sponsored in the Tour de France by the United States Postal Service. In honor of Lance's great career and as a way to show their support for the entire squad, the Greenvale Post Office raised the "Lance Armstrong flag" last Wednesday, July 23 at their building on 37 Northern Blvd.

The flag was autographed by all the US team members, including Lance Armstrong. The day also featured a visit by Frank Niland from the Triple A Association who lectured local youth on bicycle safety. In addition, Bob Harris, owner of Bikeworks Ltd., also located in Greenvale, donated a bicycle and bicycle helmets to be raffled off.

The winner of the bike was Leaot Harnington, a student at AHRC of Nassau County, itself located in Brookville. Leaot and her friends visited the post office on the day of the flag raising. The bike and the helmets will be used by all of the AHRC youth. About 200 students attend the school, which is for Nassau County youth with special needs. AHRC students also received commemorative stamps courtesy of the post office.

Mary Crispino, the postmaster at the Greenvale station said that the USPS hopes the raising of the flag will raise awareness about the team and the hard work they do all year long to represent the United States and the Postal Service in races all over the world.

Ms. Crispino noted that the Tour de France attracts no less than 20 million spectators throughout that country. Millions more watch the race on television all across the European continent.

Although bikers like Lance Armstrong are huge sports stars in Europe, they are less well known in the United States. But that doesn't mean they aren't well compensated for their efforts. Ms. Crispino also noted that Armstrong makes over $13 million a year in earnings. That might inspire other American youngsters to think about the sport.

Lance Armstrong won this year's Tour de France by just 61 seconds in a race that lasted for 83 hours over 2,125 miles. Armstrong is the fifth racer to win five straight Tour de France marathons. No one has won six straight races, even though Armstrong will be back in France next year to try to make more bike racing history.


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