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Lance Armstrong falls to third, Rinaldo Nocentini jumps into lead

France's Brice Feillu wins the seventh stage of the Tour de France. Alberto Contador moves to second overall after attacking late in the stage.

July 11, 2009|Lauren Goldman | Associated Press

Lance Armstrong dropped one spot to third place in the Tour de France on Friday, with rival and teammate Alberto Contador breaking away in the final sprint up the mountain to claim second.

Italy's Rinaldo Nocentini captured the yellow jersey from Switzerland's Fabian Cancellara after a punishing climb in the Pyrenees to complete the seventh stage. It was the first time the overall lead changed hands since Cancellara won the opening-day time trial in Monaco.

The 140-mile leg from Spain into Andorra, the first in high mountains of this three-week race, was won by Brice Feillu of France in a solo breakaway.

Armstrong, a seven-time champion coming out of retirement, said he was not as tired as he thought he'd be.

Quote of the day: "When I saw my brother with tears in his eyes, I began to realize what was happening. Emotion overwhelmed me then." Brice Feillu, after winning his first stage on his debut Tour. Feillu's brother, Romain, wore the yellow jersey for one day on last year's Tour.

*--* STAGE 7 RESULTS 1. Brice Feillu, France 6:11:31 2. Christophe Kern, France :05 behind 3. Johannes Frohlinger, Germany :25 behind 4. Rinaldo Nocentini, Italy :26 behind 5. Egoi Martinez, Spain :45 behind *--*

*--* OVERALL STANDINGS 1. Rinaldo Nocentini, Italy 25:44:32 2. Alberto Contador, Spain :06 behind 3. Lance Armstrong, United States :08 behind 4. Levi Leipheimer, United States :39 behind 5. Bradley Wiggins, Britain :46 behind *--*

Today's stage: The eighth stage is the second big mountain stage of the Tour, taking riders on a 109.7-mile ride from La Vella, Andorra, to Saint-Girons, France. It features three difficult climbs.

-- Associated Press

Destination Saint-Girons: The capital of the Couserans region, Saint-Girons lies in the foothills of the Central Pyrenees. Its beer production, coffee roasting and cheese dairies contribute to its being the commercial district of the Couserans. Saint-Girons also has been a longtime producer of cigarette paper. One of the town's most striking features is its central pavements, made of a local marble. Saint-Girons is also home to the annual Rite Festival, which features folk groups from eight countries. The festival seeks to honor living traditions that have been passed down to each generation, and to foster dialogues between cultures through music, singing and dancing workshops. Similar, in a sense, to the Tour de France, in which people from different countries and backgrounds come together to compete for a common goal.

-- Lauren Goldman

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