Garate takes Ventoux stage, Contador poised to win Tour
Saturday 25 July 2009
Alberto Contador was poised to win his second Tour de France after controlling his main rivals in the 167km and penultimate stage to Mont Ventoux on Saturday.
Spain's Juan Manuel Garate won the most prestigious stage of the race on the slopes of the classic Tour climb, which failed to modify the race standings on the eve of the finale in Paris.
Garate won ahead of Germany's Tony Martin who, like him, belonged to a 16-man breakaway which was gone almost from the start in Montelimar.
The pair were the last two survivors from the break not to be caught on the last climb by the leading favourites, who held together until the finish line despite countless attacks by brothers Andy and Frank Schleck.
Andy finished third in the stage, ahead of Tour leader Contador and American Lance Armstrong, who salvaged his podium spot on the gruelling last ascent.
Each time the two Luxembourg riders moved they were immediately reined in by Contador, who maintained his lead of four minutes and 11 seconds over Andy and will most probably win his second Tour on the Champs-Elysees on Sunday.
On one of the last strikes by the Schlecks, the 2007 Tour champion even helped his Astana team mate Armstrong bridge the gap and keep his third place.
The seven times Tour winner is 5:24 behind the Spaniard and will likely be back on the final podium for the first time since 2005.
Briton Bradley Wiggins was dropped in the final km of the Ventoux but kept his fourth place overall while Frank Schleck moved up to fifth in the standings.
The Tour finishes on the Champs-Elysees in Paris on Sunday after a 164.5km ride from Montereau-Fault-Yonne.
Latest in Sport
Angel Di Maria reveals wish to return to Argentina - but don't worry Manchester United fans...
Arsene Wenger 18th anniversary at Arsenal: His WORST signings XI during his time with the Gunners
FC Basel vs Liverpool: Champions League match preview
Robin van Persie reveals Louis van Gaal wants Manchester United to 'be more Dutch and pull on the same rope'
Manchester United risk Uefa row over plan to play lucrative midweek friendlies
- 1 Snoop Dogg and Jared Leto buy a stake in Reddit as A-list invests $50m
- 2 Car tax disc changes: Two days to go - and they affect you much more than just not displaying a piece of paper
- 3 Ed Sheeran dedicates song to David Cameron
- 4 Now we know whose fault it is if you end up being murdered in Thailand
- 5 35,000 walrus gather ashore on north-west Alaska beach 'for a rest'
Isis, we are told, is a 'clear and dangerous threat to our way of life'. I’m sorry, but I just don’t buy it
Exclusive: 'Putin's Russia has been my biggest regret,' says Nato's outgoing Secretary General
The Osborne Ultimatum: Chancellor’s benefits freeze bombshell will affect ten million households
There’s no excuse for Dave Lee Travis’s behaviour, but we need to keep a sense of proportion
Should gay sex be illegal? 16% of Britons think so
Mark Reckless becomes second Tory MP to defect to Ukip in a month
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Group have been well ...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE: SThree: Real Staffing Group is seeking Traine...
£120 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: We have an exciting opportunity...
Competitive: Randstad Education Manchester: SEN Teacher urgently required for ...