France's national champion Thomas Voeckler surmounted the brutal hills of the Pyrenees mountains to win the 15th stage on Monday while defending champion Alberto Contador took the overall lead and the famed yellow jersey.
AP - French champion Thomas Voeckler won the second of the Tour de France's four big stages in the Pyrenees on Monday with a solo ride, and defending champion Alberto Contador took over the yellow jersey from Andy Schleck of Luxembourg who suffered mechanical failure at a disastrous moment.
Schleck had accelerated less than 4 kilometers from the top of the big climb of the day, the Port de Bales, but almost immediately lost his chain, forcing him to stop on the side of the road and wait for assistance. He then had to force his way back through the field as he attempted to catch up with Contador and the other leaders in the overall competition, but was unable to make up the time.
Contador now holds the yellow jersey by eight seconds from Schleck. Schleck was angry after the stage that the riders he was with did not wait for him, which he said would have been normal practice.
"For sure these guys don't get the fair play prize today,'' he said.
It was the second victory for Voeckler after another solo win in Perpignan last year. He finished Monday's 187.5-kilometer (116.5-mile) 15th stage from Pamiers to Bagneres-de-Luchon in 4 hours, 44 minutes, 51 seconds, ahead of Alessandro Ballan of Italy and Aitor Perez of Spain.
Date created : 2010-07-19