Contador remains in firm control of Tour
July 24, 2009
AUBENAS, France – Alberto Contador stayed in command with two days of racing left at the Tour de France while teammate Lance Armstrong remained in third place.
Mark Cavendish of Britain captured Friday’s 19th stage in a sprint finish, his fifth stage victory in this Tour. Cavendish edged Thor Hushovd of Norway and Gerald Ciolek of Germany on the relatively flat, 111-mile ride from Bourgoin-Jallieu to Aubenas. They all finished in 3 hours, 50 minutes, 35 seconds.
Armstrong, the seven-time champion, had the same time. He trimmed four seconds off his deficit to Contador and second-place Andy Schleck of Luxembourg.
Contador leads Schleck overall by 4:11 and Armstrong by 5:21 entering the last big stage – Saturday’s 104-mile ride from Montelimar to a punishing finish up the famed Mont Ventoux.
The race ends Sunday in Paris.