The story appears on

Page B16

July 20, 2009

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » Sports » Cycling

Contador seizes lead in the Alps

RACE favorite Alberto Contador took the Tour de France leader's yellow jersey when he surged less than six kilometers from the finish line to win the 15th stage yesterday.

In contrast, 37-year-old Lance Armstrong discovered that time was on his Astana teammate's side, as the seven-time champion was unable to stay with the other favorites in the finale and finished one minute 35 seconds behind the victor.

Contador, third overall at the start of the stage, had already suggested in Tour's previous mountain top finish in Andorra that he was peerless in the climbs.

The 2007 champion confirmed the impression in the 207.5-km ride from Pontarlier with a blistering attack in the first big ascent of the Alps to win by 43 seconds from Luxembourg's Andy Schleck.

Italian Vincenzo Nibali was third while Armstrong finished ninth and is now second overall. Britain's Bradley Wiggins lies third in the standings, nine seconds behind the American.

The riders paid their respect to a woman who died on Saturday after being hit by a motorcycle in the race, with a minute's silence before the start.

Tom Boonen pulled out before the peloton left Pontarlier after being ill all night. The 28-year-old sprinter had not made an impact on the race and was 79th in the competition for the green points jersey, which he won in 2007.

A 10-man breakaway shaped up after some 80km and built a maximum gap of over four minutes.

The group reached the foot of the final climb with a one minute advantage but the last surviving escapee, Slovenia's Simon Spilak was caught at the very moment Contador launched his decisive move.

Meanwhile, New Zealand cyclist Julian Dean did not know he had been shot during Friday's stage, thinking instead he had been hit by flying stone chips.

Dean was struck in the index finger and Spain's Oscar Freire was hit in the right thigh by small shots during the 13th stage from Vittel to Colmar. Officials later said they had been shot by a slug gun and police are looking for two teenagers.

"The incident wasn't as bad as it sounds," Dean said in his column in New Zealand's Sunday Star Times newspaper. "At the time, I didn't realize what had happened; I thought a stone had flicked up off the road and hit my finger.

"It was only when I was talking to Oscar Freire a little further down the road, and he told me he had been shot in the leg, that I realized what had happened. "Neither of us were seriously hurt and we rode on. Oscar got a piece of metal taken out of his leg after the stage."


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend