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Alberto Contador takes lead in Tour de France

Lance Armstrong moves up to second but falls farther behind the leader, now trailing by 1:37.

July 20, 2009|Associated Press

Alberto Contador won a showdown with Lance Armstrong on Sunday, capturing the yellow jersey with a dominating victory in the first Alpine stage of the Tour de France.

Armstrong moved up to second place in the standings after the 15th stage but lost time to his Astana teammate, who took control of the race in ending Rinaldo Nocentini's eight-day run in the overall lead.

The 26-year-old Spaniard broke away from other pre-race favorites with 3.5 miles left in the 128.9-mile ride from Pontarlier, France, to the Swiss ski resort of Verbier -- and kept extending his lead throughout the uphill finish.

Contador -- the 2007 Tour winner -- came into Sunday's stage in third place overall, six seconds behind Nocentini. Contador finished in 5 hours, 3 minutes, 58 seconds. Armstrong, who had entered the day fourth overall and eight seconds behind Nocentini, finished ninth, 1:35 behind Contador.

The seven-time Tour champion trails Contador by 1:37 in the overall standings. Bradley Wiggins of Britain climbed from sixth place to third, 1:46 back of the Spaniard.

Riders get a rest day today before two more stages in the Alps, an individual time trial in Annecy on Thursday, and then a ride up the dreaded Mont Ventoux on Saturday. The Tour ends Sunday in Paris.

--

Quote of the day: "When Alberto went, he showed he is the best rider in the race. He is the best climber." -- Armstrong, after his ninth-place finish.

--

Next stage: Today is a rest day in Verbier. Tuesday's 16th stage is a 98.9-mile ride in the Alps between Martigny, Switzerland, and Bourg-Saint-Maurice, France.

--STAGE 15 RESULTS

1. Alberto Contador, Spain

5:03:58

2. Andy Schleck, Luxembourg

:43 behind

3. Vincenzo Nibali, Italy

1:03 behind

4. Frank Schleck, Luxembourg

1:06 behind

5. Bradley Wiggins, Britain

same time

OVERALL STANDINGS

Alberto Contador, Spain

63:17:56

Lance Armstrong, U.S.

1:37 behind

Bradley Wiggins, Britain

1:46 behind

Andreas Kloeden, Germany

2:17 behind

Andy Schleck, Luxembourg

2:26 behind

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