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Spaniard Contador wins third Tour de France

07-26-2010 09:54 BJT

PARIS, July 25 (Xinhua) -- Alberto Contador won his third Tour de France in four years on Sunday.

The 27-year-old Contador sealed his third title by holding off a dramatic challenge from his main rival, Andy Schleck of Luxembourg, in Saturday's individual time trial.

Astana team rider and leader's yellow jersey Alberto Contador of Spain celebrates his overall victory on the podium in Paris after the final 20th stage of the 97th Tour de France cycling race between Longjumeau and Paris July 25, 2010. Contador won the Tour de France for the third time on Sunday. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)
Astana team rider and leader's yellow jersey Alberto 
Contador of Spain celebrates his overall victory on the 
podium in Paris after the final 20th stage of the 97th 
Tour de France cycling race between Longjumeau and Paris 
July 25, 2010. Contador won the Tour de France for the 
third time on Sunday. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

After 3,642 kilometers (2,263 miles) and three weeks of racing over mountains, cobblestones and flats in the Netherlands, Belgium and France, Schleck finished 39 seconds back in second place.

Denis Menchov of Russia was third overall with 2:01 adrift.

Mark Cavendish of Britain claimed his fifth stage victory this Tour and the 15th in his career in a sprint at the end of Sunday's 20th and final stage, a largely ceremonial 102.5-kilometer (63.7- mile) course from Longjumeau to the Champs-Elysees in Paris.

Contador joins Greg LeMond, Louison Bobet and Philippe Thys as a three-time Tour champion. Armstrong is the most successful Tour rider with seven consecutive wins, between 1999 and 2005.

Alessandro Petacchi of Italy captured the green jersey given to the race's top sprinter. He was second in the 20th stage, just ahead of Julian Dean of New Zealand.

Anthony Charteau of France won the polka-dot jersey as the best climber; Schleck takes home the white jersey for being the best young rider for a third straight year, and RadioShack squad won the team competition.

Armstrong completed his last Tour in 23rd place, 39:20 after Contador, his former teammate and rival. It was far away from his third-place finish in 2009 on his return from a four-year retirement.

Armstrong has never tested positive and as he has in the past, again denied any involvement in doping.

Contador sipped champagne during the leisurely ride and held up three fingers to signal his third Tour win. His Astana team was always likely to quash any attempt by Schleck to break away Sunday.

For the second year running, the Tour was free of the doping scandals that plagued three straight editions from 2006 to 2008.

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