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Mark Cavendish wins 19th stage of Tour de France

Alberto Contador holds onto the lead; Lance Armstrong remains in third.

July 25, 2009|Reuters | Associated Press

Mark Cavendish became the most successful Briton in the Tour de France when he snatched his ninth win in the 19th stage today.

Cavendish outsprinted Norway's Thor Hushovd after 111 miles from Bourgoin-Jallieu, with German Gerald Ciolek coming home third.

The Team Columbia rider beat the record eight career stage wins of Barry Hoban as he showed unbeatable form to cross the line first for the fifth time this year.

Spain's Alberto Contador retained the yellow jersey with a 4-minute 11-second lead over Luxembourg's Andy Schleck despite being trapped in a late split with other top guns.

American Lance Armstrong, third overall, gained four seconds in the incident to move 1:10 behind Schleck.

Going into today's showdown to the top of Mont Ventoux, the seven-time champion has a 15-second lead over fourth-place Bradley Wiggins of Britain.

A 20-man breakaway shaped up in the early stages on Friday, but the fugitives were caught shortly before the ascent to the second-category Col de l'Arenier.

France's Laurent Lefevre tried his luck as soon as the road went skyward and was later joined by world champion Alessandro Ballan of Italy.

The duo built a 20-second advantage before Cavendish's Columbia team pulled the peloton as a storm broke.

Ballan and Lefevre were swallowed up with less than a mile to go.

Quote of the day: "L'Alpe d'Huez is a piece of cake against Ventoux." -- Schleck

*--* STAGE 19 RESULTS 1. Mark Cavendish, Britain 3:50:35 2. Thor Hushovd, Norway same time 3. Gerald Ciolek, Germany same time 4. Greg Van Avermaet, Belgium same time 5. Oscar Freire, Britain same time *--*

*--* OVERALL STANDINGS 1. Alberto Contador, Spain 77:06:18 2. Andy Schleck, Luxembourg 4:11 behind 3. Lance Armstrong, U.S. 5:21 behind 4. Bradley Wiggins, Britain 5:36 behind 5. Andreas Kloeden, Germany 5:38 behind *--*



Next stage: Today's 20th stage is a 104-mile stage from Montelimar to Mont Ventoux. The climb is a 13.1-mile ascent at an average gradient of 7.6%.

Destination Mont Ventoux: Better known as "the Giant of Provence," Mont Ventoux is the largest mountain in the region and has gained notoriety through its use in the Tour in previous years. Since 1951, riders have ascended the mountain 13 times as part of the race. As the name suggests, "venteux" means windy, and we can only hope that the riders aren't caught in extreme winds on the way up. Although this mountain acts as a magnet for cyclists worldwide, it has not always been kind to those who have attempted to conquer it. On July 13, 1967, Mont Ventoux claimed the life of British cyclist Tom Simpson during the Tour. As riders ascend the mountain this year, they will pass by a memorial to Simpson near the summit.

-- Lauren Goldman

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