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Contador wins first Swiss leg of Tour de France

Alberto Contador of Spain has won the 15th leg of the the Tour de France cycling race, the first of two stages passing through Switzerland.

This content was published on July 19, 2009 - 17:31

Contador, the 2007 Tour winner, broke away to win the 207.5 kilometre stretch, which started in Pontarlier in France and ended in the Swiss ski resort of Verbier. He now gains the yellow jersey.

"I'm very happy with this result. The climb wasn't that long but I wanted to make a difference," said Contador, who looked fresh and tapped his chest as he finished. "I gave the maximum."

Luxembourg's Andy Schleck was second and Italy's Vincenzo Nibali came home third on Sunday. After making a dash for it in the latter stages, Swiss hope Fabian Cancellara faded and finished in the pack.

The cyclists arrived to a warm welcome in Verbier, with an estimated 100,000 people gathering in the resort to cheer the riders on.

Cancellara, the 28-year-old Swiss Olympic time-trial champion, made a good start to the Tour de France, gaining the jersey after posting the fastest time in the prologue to the race. He had kept it throughout the first six stages, which were relatively flat.

This year's Tour will cover 3,460km, taking in six countries before finishing in Paris on July 26. After a day of rest, racers will continue in Switzerland on July 21 for another tough stage in the Alps which starts in Martigny and heads back to France.

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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