Cancellara extends Tour de France lead


Swiss world time-trial champion Fabian Cancellara extended his lead in cycling's Tour de France on Tuesday by winning the third stage – the longest in the race.

This content was published on July 10, 2007 minutes

Cancellara, who also won Saturday's prologue, finished ahead of a pack of breakaway riders at the end of a 236.5-kilometre stretch that ran from Belgium to France.

Erik Zabel of Germany was second and Danilo Napolitano of Italy was third.

A late burst of speed gave Cancellara his victory as he broke away from the bunch just 300 metres from the finish line.

"I have no words after winning something like that," said Cancellara of the race, which started in Waregem, Belgium and ended in Compiegne, northeast of Paris.

The Team CSC rider admitted the stage, which he won in 6 hours, 36 minutes, 15 seconds, had been a long one.

"When I saw the four riders ahead were going good, I had the feeling I had to work to keep my jersey," he said.

"I knew there were some cobblestones at the very end of the stage and I knew I could attack. It's so nice to win here in Compiegne," added Cancellara.

Famous yellow jersey

The Swiss, who has held the famous yellow jersey for all four days of this year's race, gained bonus points for the win.

He now leads Andreas Kloeden of Germany by 33 seconds in the overall Tour rankings. David Millar of Britain is third, 41 seconds behind.

The win was Cancellara's second victory in this year's race, which started in London. The rider, who also won the Tour prologue in 2004, clocked eight minutes, 50 seconds for Saturday's 7.9-kilometre prologue which started at Trafalgar Square and ended in The Mall.

Cancellera, who was caught in a group crash Monday and slightly injured his left hand, said he was very proud of winning another stage.

"Winning a Tour de France stage while wearing the yellow jersey is something which only happens rarely in a career," he said.

"We are now going to try and keep the jersey as long as possible," added the time-trial specialist. "It's up to the other teams to try and win it."

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

Cancellara was born in Bern in 1981, and became a professional road bicycle racer in 2001.
His career highlights include the under-23 championship individual time trial in 1999, and the Paris-Roubaix race in 2006.
He also won the prologue at the 2004 Tour de France and clinched four titles at Switzerland's national time trial championships since 2002.
Cancellara joined Team CSC earlier this year after the Fassa Bortolo team was discontinued last winter.

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In brief

Running from Saturday, July 7 to Sunday, July 29 2007, the 94th Tour de France will be made up of a prologue and 20 stages and will cover a total distance of 3,550 kilometres.

These 20 stages have the following profiles: 11 flat stages, 6 mountain stages, 1 medium mountain stage, 2 individual time-trial stages.

The Tour is hoping to move past a string of doping scandals, allegations and admissions over the past 14 months, including 2006 winner Floyd Landis' positive test for synthetic testosterone in the last Tour.

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