Alberto Contador Wins Tour De France Stage 15 Climb Into Verbier
VERBIER, SWITZERLAND - Setting the pace for the other riders today, Astana team rider Spain's Alberto Contador won Stage 15 of the Tour De France, and also gained the overall leadership position for the Tour itself. Contador now has the right to wear the yellow jersey as the top performing rider in the overall standings. The Stage 15 Tour race departed from Pontarlier, France, and the riders took a route of 207.5 km that climbed to the summit at the resort of Verbier in Switzerland, an altitude of 1468 metres. Contador won Stage 15 in a time of 5 hours 3 minutes and 58 seconds. theirEarth took this photo of Alberto Contador at the start of the 2009 Tour De France, the Stage 1 Grand Départ in Monaco.
Contador rode into Verbier 40 seconds ahead of the Saxo Bank team's Andy Schleck, who finshed second in Stage 15. Lance Armstrong managed to stay in the pack and finished ninth today, 1 minute 35 seconds behind his teammate Contador. For Armstrong, his Stage 15 finishing position put him in second place overall in the Tour De France standings.
Contador said that he used the Verbier climb to make a difference for himself in the overall standings and that he felt that this was the stage that he needed to do well at in order to break away from the other riders. Lance Armstrong praised Contador today and said that the Spaniard was just the best man out there for today's race. Armstrong said that he thought everyone was "a bit on the limit" today with the fast pace set from the start.
The next Tour De France race is Stage 16, which departs on Tuesday, July 15, from Martigny in Switzerland and the riders will take a route through the Italian Alps that then finishes across the border in France 159 km later in Bourg-Saint-Maurice.