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Feillu wins 7th stage, yellow for Nocentini

FRENCHMAN Brice Feillu won the 224 kilometers seventh stage of the Tour de France from Barcelona to Arcalis in Spain as seven-time champion Lance Armstrong failed to snatch the overall lead yesterday.

Italy's Rinaldo Nocentini took the yellow jersey from Swiss Fabian Cancellara and heads Spaniard Alberto Contador by six seconds.

Armstrong, who started the day level on time with Cancellara, was third, two seconds behind his Astana team mate and rival.

Contador, the 2007 Tour champion, attacked the favorites' group in the latter stages of the final 10.6-km ascent and Armstrong could not keep up the pace.

The minor podium places for the stage went to France's Christophe Kern and German Johannes Froehlinger, who had been part of a nine-man breakaway.

Levi Leipheimer and green jersey holder Mark Cavendish were involved in a crash shortly before the last climb but they made it unhurt.

Sergio Paulinho set the pace of the bunch at the beginning of the ascent before leaving it to Haimar Zubeldia.

Stage one winner Cancellara was dropped almost as soon as the road rose up.

Contador's brutal attack some 2km from the finish at an altitude of 2,240 meters was too much for Armstrong, who crossed the line with other favorites such as Luxembourg's Andy Schleck and Australian Cadel Evans.

On Thursday, David Millar came close to his fourth Tour de France victory but a 1.7-km climb at the end of the sixth stage proved too much for the Briton.

The Garmin-Slipstream rider attacked a group of four fugitives with 29km left in the ride from Girona to Barcelona only to be swallowed by the peloton 1.5 km from the line.

"When I saw that climb, I had the feeling it was 5-km long and I was a bit discouraged," Millar said. "In the first week, I did not really have opportunities to attack so this stage was a good one. I am not too disappointed.

"I rode more with my heart than with my head."

Millar finished the stage in 96th place.


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