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Astarloza clinches the 16th stage, Contador retains yellow jersey

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-07-22

Spaniard Miguel Astarloza won the 16th stage of Tour de France on Tuesday, with Sandy Casar and fellow Frenchman Pierrick Fedrigo coming in second and third. Spain's Alberto Contador stays in yellow ahead of American Lance Armstrong.

AFP - Spaniard Miguel Astarloza won the 16th stage of Tour de France here on Tuesday.
  
His compatriot Alberto Contador retained the overall leader's yellow jersey and holds a 1minute 37second lead over seven-time winner and Astana teammate Lance Armstrong.
  
On the second of three days in the Alps most of the drama unfolded on the latter stages of the 22.6 km climb to the summit of the Col du Petit Saint Bernard.
  
As the Saxo Bank team of Andy Schleck drove the pace to try and eliminate some rivals the Luxemburger himself accelerated away from the yellow jersey group to force a first split.
  
Armstrong was left trailing but Contador, wearing the yellow jersey, was able to follow along with Bradley Wiggins, Frank Schleck, Vincenzo Nibali and Andreas Kloden.
  
The Schleck brothers attempted to toy with their rivals on the way up to the summit, but as Frank tired Armstrong launched a thrilling counter-attack which soon woke the Luxemburger from his slumber.
  
That seemed to be the end of the hostilities, however, as a group containing defending champion Carlos Sastre was able to make it back to Armstrong, Contador and the Schlecks before the summit.
  
Up ahead a four-man group which had been part of an earlier breakaway came over the summit with a lead of two minutes.
  

The four man group had a 14 second lead over another quartet including Irishman Nicolas Roche - son of former winner Stephen - while the yellow jersey group were still over a minute behind.
  
There was one nasty incident as German veteran Jens Voigt - a team-mate of Andy Schleck - took a terrible fall and according to some reports had to be taken to hospital.
  
Two-time Australian Tour de France runner-up Cadel Evans disappointing tour continued as he was trailing Contador's group by nearly two minutes and all hopes effectively of even a podium finish appeared to have been shattered.
  
Evans desperately tried to reach Contador's group as he led a bunch of riders down the descent but to no avail.
  
Up ahead Astarloza seized the initiative two kilometres from the finish and left his trio of breakaway riders trailing and even though the other quartet joined them the Spaniard had timed it to perfection to come home clear.
 

Date created : 2009-07-21

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