PARIS, France -- The Texan Lance Armstrong equaled the record of five consecutive wins in the Tour de France when he crossed the line maintaining his overall lead in Paris Sunday.
He was virtually assured of the historic win going into final leg and kept his nerve in rain-drenched conditions on the Champs-Elysees boulevard, staying safe at the back of the field.
The cyclist, who has come back from cancer, has vowed to go on for a record sixth consecutive victory.
"It's incredible to win again," he said.
He beat German rival Jan Ullrich by 61 seconds after 2,1125 miles staged over 23-days. He had never won by less than six minutes in his previous victories.
"Before the Tour started I was very confident about winning. But before next year's Tour, I won't be so confident," he added.
The celebrations began early with U.S. Postal Service teammates in the support car handing flutes of champagne to the cyclists as they rode in the final stage. They toasted the crowd as they rode and Armstrong held up his glass up for television cameras.
Armstrong smiled broadly and chatted with other riders as they rolled into Paris. The race's final stage is traditionally a ceremonial ride where no one challenges the overall leader.
"Armstrong among the giants," Le Journal du Dimanche, a Sunday newspaper, said in a headline, The Associated Press said.
The only serious racing in the final stage from Ville d'Avray to Paris was between specialist sprinters. The Tour's overall best sprinter is awarded the green jersey.
The Tour announced Sunday that one ride tested positive for the banned endurance drug EPO, said deputy Tour director Daniel Baal.
The racer's identity was being withheld pending a second test, but the rider is not a race leader, Baal said.
From Ville d'Avray, the riders pedaled to the nearby city of Versailles before riding through the capital.
Armstrong insists the problems that nearly cost him the Tour title this year will not be repeated.
"I don't plan on being this vulnerable again next year, I really don't," Armstrong said Saturday, relieved to have scraped through a Tour that pushed him to the limits of his physical and mental strength.
Ullrich, the Tour winner in 1997 is a five-time runner-up in the race, including twice to Armstrong.
Ullrich's challenge effectively ended when he crashed on the wet surface trying to trim Armstrong's 65-second lead during Saturday's individual time trial.
In that 19th stage, the 31-year-old Texan all but guaranteed himself a record-tying fifth straight Tour win, matching the mark set by Spain's Miguel Indurain.
"I feel like I have dodged a lot of bullets. This Tour took a lot out of me," Armstrong was quoted by AP as saying. "I was not necessarily on top of my game. Sometimes you have to survive in order to win and I was able to do that."