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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 July 2006, 14:54 GMT 15:54 UK
Schleck takes stage, Landis leads
Luxembourg's Frank Schleck
Schleck is the first Luxembourger to win an Alpe d'Huez stage
Luxembourg's Frank Schleck won stage 15 of the Tour de France while America's Floyd Landis regained the race lead.

Team CSC's Schleck dropped Italy's Damiano Cunego 2km from the top of L'Alpe d'Huez and finished one minute 10 seconds ahead of Landis.

Oscar Pereiro, who started the day in the yellow jersey, now trails Phonak's Landis by 10 seconds overall.

Italy's Stefano Garzelli was third while world champion Tom Boonen found the going too tough and withdrew.

The 187km stage was the first of three straight days of gruelling Alpine treks which are likely to help identify the top contenders to win the first Tour after the Lance Armstrong era.

The riders began in Gap and took in the Col d'Izoard and the Col du Lautaret climbs before the uphill finish on L'Alpe d'Huez.

Two victims of the Alpe were Russia's Denis Menchov and Australia's Cadel Evans.

Rabobank rider Menchov was left trailing on the first few kilometres of the Alpe as Landis went in pursuit of the stage leaders and now trails the race leader by 2:12 overall.

Davitamon's Evans started the climb with Landis and T-Mobile pair Andreas Kloden and Matthias Kessler, but finished nearly three minutes behind Landis overall.

Spaniard Carlos Sastre maintained his chances of a top finish in the race after he finished ninth to stay fifth overall at 2:17 behind Landis.

With another two tough days in the Alps to come and most of the big favourites within three minutes of Landis, the race is far from being over.

Schleck, who was part of an 18-man breakaway which escaped from the peloton early in the race, played his hand to perfection.

Italian climber Cunego had been the first to attack from an eight-man group which had emerged from the 18 early on the climb of the Alpe.

Cunego's turn of pace eliminated even more of his stage rivals, and soon only Schleck was able to follow him.

Schleck, who is the first Luxembourger to win an Alpe d'Huez stage, rode alongside the diminutive Italian before breaking Cunego's heart with one final kick.

"I don't really realise what I've done yet," said a delighted Schleck, whose win was all the more impressive as it is his race debut.


Result of stage 15:
1. Frank Schleck (Lux/Team CSC) 4 hours 52 mins 22 secs
2. Damiano Cunego (Ita/Lampre) +11 secs
3. Stefano Garzelli (Ita/Liquigas) +1:10
4. Floyd Landis (USA/Phonak) +1:10
5. Andreas Kloden (Ger/T-Mobile) +1:10
6. Ruben Lobato (Spa/Saunier Duval) +1:14
7. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra/Cofidis) +1:18
8. Eddy Mazzoleni (Ita/T-Mobile) +1:28
9. Carlos Sastre (Spa/Team CSC) +1:35
10. Levi Leipheimer (USA/Gerolsteiner ) +1:49"
Selected others:
55. David Millar (GB/Saulnier) +09:06"
125. Bradley Wiggins (GB/Cofidis) +30:14

General classification:
1. Floyd Landis (US/Phonak) 69 hours 00 mins 05 secs
2. Oscar Pereiro (Spa/Caisse d'Epargne) +10secs
3. Cyril Dessel (Fra/AG2R) +2:02
4. Denis Menchov (Rus/Rabobank) +2:12
5. Carlos Sastre (Spa/Team CSC) +2:17
6. Andreas Kloeden (Ger/T-Mobile) +2:29
7. Cadel Evans (Aus/Davitamon-Lotto) +2:56
8. Michael Rogers (Aus/T-Mobile) +5:01
9. Levi Leipheimer (US/Gerolsteiner) +6:18
10. Haimar Zubeldia (Spa/Euskaltel) +6:20
Selected others:
64. David Millar (GB/Saulnier) +59:50"
129. Bradley Wiggins (GB/Cofidis) +1h 52:09"



SEE ALSO
Stage 15 as it happened
18 Jul 06 |  Cycling
Tour de France stage 15 photos
18 Jul 06 |  Cycling


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