Tour de France: Contador takes yellow jersey
Monday 19 July 2010
Alberto Contador today seized the Tour de France lead after taking advantage of yellow jersey incumbent Andy Schleck's mechanical problem on stage 15.
Thomas Voeckler (Bbox Bouygues Telecom), resplendent in the French national champion's jersey, won the 187.5-kilometre stage from Pamiers to Bagneres-de-Luchon, but in a highly-eventful Tour there was yet another twist.
Schleck (Team Saxo Bank) lost around 40 seconds when his chain slipped as he attempted to attack on the 19.3km Port de Bales hors categorie (beyond category) climb and he finished 39 seconds behind Contador to fall back into second place overall.
Contador (Astana) capitalised on his rival's problem and went ahead - normally with a mechanical problem in cycling a rival would not take advantage.
The Spaniard, seeking a third title in four years, led by 27 seconds at the summit of the day's final climb and extended his advantage on the descent.
Contador now possesses an eight-second lead over Schleck with five days of racing remaining.
Contador began the day 31 seconds behind Schleck after the duo played cat and mouse on yesterday's opening stage in the Pyrenees.
But today was different.
The day featured a category four climb and two more difficult category two climbs, but it was always going to be the fourth and final climb where any attack would happen.
Voeckler reached the summit of the 19.3km Port de Bales first, having been in the day's 10-man escape group.
But the events behind him were to impact on the race to Paris.
Schleck attacked, but was matched by his rivals - including Contador.
The Luxembourg rider continued to forge forward, attacking again only to be undone by his chain slipping with 3km still to climb.
Contador went ahead, reaching the top of the climb 27 seconds ahead of the yellow jersey.
The summit came 21.5km before a steep descent to the finish and Schleck was one second further behind Contador with 10km remaining.
But the Spaniard extended his advantage in the closing kilometres and finished two minutes 50 seconds behind Voeckler - but crucially 39 seconds ahead of Schleck.
Alessandro Ballan (BMC Racing) was second to Schleck, finishing 1min 20secs behind alongside Aitor Perez Arrieta (Footon Servetto).
Contador was one of seven riders to finish in the third group, while Schleck finished 3:29 behind Voeckler today.
Latest in Sport
Karim Benzema to Arsenal: Real Madrid striker fuels speculation he will join Gunners with cryptic Instagram post
Memphis Depay scores amazing overhead kick from Wayne Rooney cross during Manchester United pre-season training
David De Gea to Real Madrid: Spanish club resume £28m pursuit after fending Manchester United off Sergio Ramos
Karim Benzema to Arsenal: Transfer news live - Angel Di Maria to leave Manchester United, Emmanuel Adebayor to Aston Villa
Chelsea transfer news: Filipe Luis returns to Atletico Madrid as Blues recoup £15.8m they spent on Brazilian last summer
- 1 Kate Winslet thanked 'particularly horrible' girl who bullied her at school after Titanic success
- 2 Australia to impose 24-hour curfew on all cats to protect endangered species
- 3 Black and ethnic minority people twice as likely to be hit by Tory cuts than white people, report finds
- 4 Walter Palmer: Cecil the lion killer revealed to be American dentist
- 5 What TripAdvisor users think of 16 of the world's most popular landmarks
Labour leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn says 'we can learn a great deal from Karl Marx'
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn – or a return to a Labour government
The last thing Labour needs is a leader like Jeremy Corbyn who people want to vote for
I am the Jeremy Corbyn supporter that many will tell you doesn't exist
Public anger after French sunbather beaten up by gang for wearing a bikini in Reims park
Labour leadership: New poll shows party is now even 'less electable' than under Ed Miliband
£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is an independent ...
£14625 - £20625 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This role is for an enthusiasti...
£45 - £55k DOE: Guru Careers: A Financial Controller is required to join a suc...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join the ho...