Tour de France Stage 20

Tour de France Stage 20

Spain’s Juan Manuel Garate, riding for the Rabobank team, won the grueling climb up Mont Ventoux in the 20th stage of the Tour today, becoming the first Spanish rider to ever win on the rocky summit sometimes called the Giant of Provence, and the first member of his team to win a stage in this year’s race. Asked how he felt after conquering the legendarily difficult mountain, his answer was “It’s paradise.”

Germany’s Tony Martin, of Team Columbia-HTC was second, followed by Luxembourg’s Andy Schleck, of the Saxo Bank team.

The overall standings remain unchanged, with the exultant Spanish leader Alberto Contador (Astana) hanging on to the yellow jersey—and his matching yellow helmet and shade frames—in first place, Schleck in second place 4’11” behind, and Astana’s Lance Armstrong third, trailing Contador 5’24”. Britain’s Bradley Wiggins, of Garmin-Slipstream, is fourth, and Frank Schleck, Andy’s brother and Saxo Bank teammate, is fifth.

Barring a surprise accident during the largely symbolic final stage of the race, from Montereau-Fault-Yonne to Paris and the Champs-Elysées, those top three standings won’t change, and Schleck and Armstrong will join Contador on the winner’s podium for the 2009 Tour de France.

But the winner of the 21st and final stage, at the finish line on the Champs-Elysées, is still anybody’s guess.


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