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Tour de France

July 26, 2007|From the Associated Press

* Stage: The third of three punishing mountain stretches in the Pyrenees near the Spanish border took riders 135.8 miles from Orthez to Gourette and featured two of the race's most difficult climbs.

* Winner: Overall leader Michael Rasmussen was removed from the race by his Rabobank team after winning Wednesday's stage. The expulsion, which team spokesman Jacob Bergsma said was ordered by the Dutch team's sponsor, was linked to "incorrect" information that Rasmussen gave to the team's sports director over his whereabouts last month, when he missed random drug tests May 8 and June 28.

* Yellow jersey: Spanish rider Alberto Contador of the Discovery Channel team took over the yellow jersey with Rasmussen out. He leads by 1 minute 53 seconds over Cadel Evans, who rides for Predictor-Lotto. U.S. rider Levi Leipheimer, also with Discovery, is now third.

* Quote of the day: "We cannot say that Rasmussen cheated, but his flippancy and his lies on his whereabouts had become unbearable." Tour director Christian Prudhomme.

* Next stage: Finally out of the mountains. Today's 17th stage goes 117.1 miles from Pau to Castelsarrasin over mostly flat, picturesque country in southwestern France.

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STAGE 16 RESULTS

*--* 1. Michael Rasmussen, Denmark 6:23.21 2. Levi Leipheimer, United States :26 behind 3. Alberto Contador, Spain :35 behind 4. Cadel Evans, Australia :43 behind 5. Juan Mauricio Soler, Colombia 1:25 behind

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OVERALL LEADERS

*--* 1. Alberto Contador, Spain 76:18:25 2. Cadel Evans, Australia 1:53 behind 3. Levi Leipheimer, U.S. 2:49 behind 4. Carlos Sastre, Spain 6:02 behind 5. Haimar Zubeldia, Spain 6:29 behind

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