Contador takes over lead at Tour de France

July 26, 2007 at 2:05 PM
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CASTELSARRASIN, France, July 26 (UPI) -- Daniele Bennati claimed the Tour de France's 17th stage Thursday and Alberto Contador took over as the overall leader in cycling's most prestigious event.

The stage -- 118 miles from Pau to Castelsarrasin -- was run without a rider wearing the yellow leader's jersey. Michael Rasmussen seemed to have the overall crown locked up but was withdrawn by his Rabobank team after lying about his whereabouts during June training and missing random drug tests.

Rasmussen pointed out he didn't fail any of the numerous doping tests he had taken during the Tour de France.

Bennati completed the Pau-to-Castelsarrasin run in 4 hours, 14 minutes, 4 seconds, out sprinting three riders to take the stage. Markus Fothen finished second with Martin Elmiger and Jens Voigt given third and fourth. All four riders were recorded in the same time.

Contador was in a group of riders 9 minutes, 37 seconds behind Bennati but owns the overall lead by 1:53 over Cadel Evans and 2:49 ahead of Levi Leipheimer.

The tour is down to its final three stages, including Friday's ride form Cahors to Angouleme. The tour is to wrap up Sunday in Paris.

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