Contador Takes Tour de France

Spanish cyclist eclipses Armstrong in second Tour triumph
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 26, 2009 11:50 AM CDT
Alberto Contador of Spain, wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey, foreground, rides with the pack on Place de la Concorde (Concorde square) in Paris July 26, 2009.    (CHRISTOPHE ENA)
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(Newser) – Alberto Contador won the Tour de France for a second time today, and Lance Armstrong capped his return to the race with an impressive third-place finish. Mark Cavendish of Britain became the first rider to win six Tour stages in a sprint, collecting his sixth stage win after the 101.9-mile course ride from Montereau-Fault-Yonne to the Champs-Elysees.

Over nearly 3,500 kilometers and 21 stages of races in 3 weeks, Contador repelled many challenges in the mountains, excelled in the two time-trials—winning a pivotal race against the clock in the 18th stage—and won the first Alpine stage. Contador, the 2007 champion, also had to battle a rearguard action within his Astana team, where the comeback of Armstrong to the Tour after 3 1/2 years of retirement raised questions about who would be the team leader.