20 Jul 2009

Contador now leads Tour de France

6:36 am on 20 July 2009

Spain's 2007 champion Alberto Contador of Astana has taken possession of the Tour de France yellow jersey after a superb solo attack and victory on the 15th stage in the Swiss Alps.

Contador, winning his first individual stage of this year's race, attacked a small group of favourites containing teammate Lance Armstrong 6km from the summit of the climb to the finish at Verbier.

The Spaniard's move shook up the favourites and yellow jersey rival Andy Schleck was the only rider to try to counter his move.

Schleck, of Saxo Bank, battled hard to catch Contador but could not match the Spaniard's seemingly effortless rhythm. In the end the Luxemburger came over the finish line 43secs behind.

Seven-time champion Armstrong finished 1:35 behind, only a handful of seconds behind two-time race runner-up Cadel Evans of Australia who was at 1:26 in seventh place.

Contador now leads Astana teammate Armstrong by 1:37 in the overall standings, with Briton Bradley Wiggins of Garmin, continuing to impress, in third at 1:46.

German Andreas Kloden, also of Astana, is fourth at 2:17 while Andy Schleck is fifth at 2:26.