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Home News-Telegram Sports Pro Sports Schleck wins 17th stage, Contador set for Tour title

Schleck wins 17th stage, Contador set for Tour title

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COL DU TOURMALET, France (AP) — Andy Schleck won the most prestigious stage of this year's Tour de France, while defending champion Alberto Contador finished second Thursday to virtually guarantee a third title.

Schleck knew he needed to pick up time on Contador in the 17th stage, and tried to break away with six miles left in the climb of the legendary Col du Tourmalet in the Pyrenees. But Contador stuck to his Luxembourg rival as they raced in fog and drizzle.

They completed the 108 miles from Pau to the Col du Tourmalet in 5 hours, 3 minutes, 29 seconds. Contador still leads Schleck in the overall standings by eight seconds.

The two men completed the final miles of the race almost side by side, representing the two-rider battle that has been the story of this year's Tour.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy was on the top of the mountain to greet them.

"The image of Alberto and Andy side by side was a great image of sport," Sarkozy said. "Alberto may win, but Andy will win next year."

Schleck and Contador braved the weather as well as the flags of fans hitting them in the face during the climb.

Third place went to Spain's Joaquin Rodriguez, who pulled away from the rest of the chasing group and finished on his own, 1 minute, 18 seconds back.

The 2008 champion Carlos Sastre made a valiant attempt to make up the more than nine minutes separating him from Contador, breaking out alone in search of the lead group after 15 miles.

 

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