UPDATE-Contador in yellow: does he have the Tour wrapped up?

July 19, 2009

CYCLING-TOUR/

Alberto Contador made his break as the Tour de France entered the Alps on Sunday and he may well have decided the race in his favour.

Contador’s thrilling escape asked a question Lance Armstrong could not answer and earned the Spaniard the yellow jersey, with a lead of more than a minute and a half over Armstrong. That’s not decisive, but it is now hard to see the Texan coming back and taking victory.

Does Contador now have the Tour won?

Here’s the view of our Tour reporter Julien Pretot:

That’s it. As expected, Alberto Contador showed his true colours in the ascent to Verbier, hammering his rivals in just over five kilometres.

Another Tour de France will start on Tuesday after a well deserved rest day for the peloton. Contador will just have to focus enough to stay out of trouble before the Mont Ventoux showdown, while Lance Armstrong, who looked his age on Sunday, will be out to increase his popularity in France.

After acknowledging Contador was the best, the American finds himself in a very unusual position having never had to share the glory when he won his seven Tours from 1999 to 2005.

He cannot have any illusions and somehow, he brought it on himself on Sunday. After Contador attacked, Armstrong tried to maintain a small gap and eventually found himself well back, unable to rein in late attacks from Sastre, Frank Schleck and Wiggins.

PHOTO: Astana rider Alberto Contador of Spain holds up his arms as he wins the 15th stage of the 96th Tour de France cycling race between Pontarlier and Verbier, July 19, 2009. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier

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