ROANNE, France (AP) – Lance Armstrong wasn’t thrilled with his time-trial performance at the Dauphine Libere on Wednesday, but he’ll take it.

Armstrong, who will try to win his seventh straight Tour de France title next month, was under pressure to perform well in the time trial following some below-par showings earlier in the season. He finished a disappointing fifth at the Tour de Georgia in April.

He fought to a third-place finish Wednesday, trailing only Santiago Botero of Colombia and fellow American Levi Leipheimer.

“I’m on schedule,” Armstrong said. “I feel much better than I did in Georgia, more comfortable on the bike. I started hard and fast today.”

Botero, the 2002 world time trial champion, completed the 29.1-mile sprint around Roanne in 1 hour, 6.55 seconds. Leipheimer finished in 1:00:7.27, giving him the overall lead.

“It was quite dangerous on some of the downhills,” Botero said. “I lost 15 seconds to Leipheimer at the start but I managed to catch it up.”

Armstrong crossed in 1:00:32.32 with Floyd Landis fourth. Armstrong was more than 30 seconds ahead of fifth-place Alexandre Vinokourov, considered one of his main rivals at the Tour de France.

Botero jumped up to second in the overall standings, and Armstrong is in third place, putting him in a strong position heading into today’s first mountain stage.

Armstrong said the strong wind made it tricky to gain speed in the time trial, which featured a significant section of hills.

“You had to pedal hard,” Armstrong said. “It was a 100 percent effort all the way. I’m not overwhelmingly pleased, but I’m not disappointed.

“My overall sensations are good. It wasn’t perfect today but we’ll see what happens in the mountains over the next few days with all the climbs.”

Armstrong has been testing a new TTX bike, built by the Discovery Channel team for use on the Tour de France time trials. He started training on the bike last week.

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