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Frenchman Takes Lead in the Tour

July 13, 2006|From the Associated Press

PAU, France — Unheralded French rider Cyril Dessel took the Tour de France leader's yellow jersey Wednesday on the first high-altitude stage, and American Floyd Landis fell from second to fifth overall.

Juan Miguel Mercado of Spain won Stage 10, beating Dessel in a sprint to the line at Pau. The previous yellow jersey holder, Serhiy Honchar of Ukraine, was still riding far behind with the main pack of racers when Mercado and Dessel finished.

Dessel, of the French team AG2R, and Mercado, of Agritubel, were part of a group of 15 riders that managed to escape from the main pack early in the stage and built up a healthy lead that carried them to the finish.

Honchar and Landis were in a pack that finished 7 minutes 23 seconds behind the leaders. Landis placed 50th in the stage and fell to fifth overall -- 4:45 behind Dessel, who is not considered a threat to win the overall title.

Dessel holds a 2:34 overall lead over Mercado. Honchar is third, 3:45 behind Dessel. Italian rider Cristian Moreni is fourth, followed by Landis.

The Tour's top contenders decided not to overly exert themselves, saving themselves for harder days ahead. The toughest Pyrenean stage is today, with five hard climbs, including an uphill finish.

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AT A GLANCE

Tuesday: The 10th stage was a winding 118.4-mile ride from the southwestern town of Cambo-Les-Bains to Pau featuring two tough climbs in the Pyrenees, the first mountain stage of this Tour.

* Winner: Spain's Juan Miguel Mercado, of the Agritubel team, in 4 hours 49 minutes 10 seconds. Frenchman Cyril Dessel, of AG2R, was second in the same time, and Inigo Landaluze, a Spaniard with Basque team Euskaltel Euskadi, was third, 56 seconds behind.

* Yellow jersey: Dessel moved into the overall lead.

* Quote of the day: "He's going to live a big, big day with the yellow jersey. You're never the same man again." -- AG2R's team leader, Frenchman Christophe Moreau, on Dessel.

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STAGE 10 RESULTS

1. Juan M. Mercado, Spain: 4:49:10

2. Cyril Dessel, France: Same time

3. Inigo Landaluze, Spain: 0:56 behind

4. Cristian Moreni, Italy: 2:24 behind

5. Christophe Rinero, France: 2:25 behind

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OVERALL LEADERS

1. Cyril Dessel, France: 43:07:05

2. Juan M. Mercado, Spain: 2:34 behind

3. Serhiy Honchar, Ukraine: 3:45 behind

4. Cristian Moreni, Italy: 3:51 behind

5. Floyd Landis, U.S.: 4:45 behind

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