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Page last updated at 15:44 GMT, Sunday, 26 July 2009 16:44 UK

Contador seals 2009 Tour victory

Alberto Contador
Alberto Contador celebrates his 2009 Tour de France victory

Alberto Contador earned his second Tour de France victory after seeing out the 21st and final stage, won in stunning style by Manxman Mark Cavendish.

Spaniard Contador held off Luxembourg's Andy Schleck with American Lance Armstrong edging out Bradley Wiggins.

Wiggins equalled the best Tour finish by a Briton with his fourth place matching Robert Millar in 1984.

Cavendish's win was his sixth of the 2009 Tour and he became the first Briton to win on the Champs Elysees.

The 24-year-old, who now has 10 Tour stage wins to his name, was an easy winner in Paris.

The Tour is the hardest race in the world, but this year it was particularly difficult. That's why I am so happy

Alberto Contador

He was led out by his Columbia team-mates George Hincapie and Mark Renshaw and was helped on the final turn when the Garmin team of his rival Tyler Farrar took the wrong line and also blocked Thor Hushovd.

Cavendish was suddenly several metres clear and, with only Renshaw near him, was able to raise his arms to the sky in triumph as he crossed the line.

He was pipped to the green points jersey by Norwegian Hushovd, who finished with 10 more points, but said that winning in Paris was a dream come true.

"I've always wanted to win on the Champs Elysees and the feeling doesn't disappoint," Cavendish said after completing the Tour for the first time at the third attempt.

"To cross the line here in Paris with your hands raised at the front of the pack is every sprinter's dream and I wanted it so bad.

"The team rode so well again. George went and just smoked everyone, then Mark came and I went past him."

"I'm happy with six stages, but next year I'll be fitter and stronger and hopefully the green jersey will come with that."

Italy's Franco Pellizotti won the polka dot jersey for the best climber while Contador's victory kept the Spanish flag flying high on the Champs Elysees as it followed triumphs for Oscar Pereiro in 2006, himself in 2007 and Carlos Sastre last year.

Mark Cavendish
Cavendish became the first Briton to win on the Champs Elysees in Paris.

The 26-year-old proved to be the strongest rider in the mountains and in the time trials, beating Andy Schleck by four minutes 11 seconds with seven-time champion Armstrong another one minute and 23 seconds back, 37 seconds ahead of Wiggins.

After almost 3,500km of racing over 21 stages in three weeks, Sunday's stage was a victory parade for Contador, who toasted his win with champagne as the peloton rode into Paris.

And Contador, who missed last year's Tour after Astana were not invited because of their past doping record, spoke of his joy at claiming his second victory.

"It was a tough tour and hard one to overcome but it brings me great honour and joy to record victory this year," he said.

"There was always a risk I could lose right up until the end, but I held on.

"The Tour is the hardest race in the world, but this year it was particularly difficult. That's why I am so happy."

Contador's success over the past three weeks was often overshadowed by criticism from his Astana team-mate Armstrong and the Spaniard admitted it had made his victory all the more difficult.

"This Tour was very difficult as you could see and although it sometimes seems easy on television it wasn't because of other factors," added Contador.

"I will enjoy this second Tour win as if it was a double victory.

"The only thing I can tell you is that I will be here next year with a team that has the most secure guarantees and that is the most focused on winning this race.

606: DEBATE

"There are several possibilities but what is clear is that we are totally incompatible and Armstrong will go one way and I will go the other."

Armstrong, who had returned to the Tour after almost four years away from the sport, admitted he had been well beaten by Contador.

But Armstrong will be back next year, when he will take his place in new team Radio Shack.

"I came here to do my best and I came across some guys who were clearly better than me," the Texan said.

"I don't have any regrets, I got put out a couple of times, but considering my age and recent racing, it's not a bad performance overall."

For Wiggins the conclusion of the Tour ended a remarkable three weeks with the Londoner now emerging as a truly world-class road racer.

The 29-year-old exceeded even his own expectations and admitted to being relieved that the gruelling Tour was finally over.

"It's a huge relief it is finally over," he said.

Getting fourth place and equalling the great Robert Millar, and surpassing the even greater Tom Simpson, is pretty special. I do realise what I've achieved

Bradley Wiggins

"I really didn't expect to be in this position this year.

"I thought I could get in the top 20. But to finish fourth changes everything for the future now, whether I even go back to the track.

"Getting fourth place and equalling the great Robert Millar, and surpassing the even greater Tom Simpson, is pretty special. I do realise what I've achieved."


Stage 21 result:

1. Mark Cavendish (GB/Columbia) 4 hours 2 mins 18 secs
2. Mark Renshaw (Aus/Columbia) "
3. Tyler Farrar (US/Garmin) "
4. Gerald Ciolek (Ger/Milram) "
5. Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr/Francaise des Jeux) "
6. Thor Hushovd (Nor/Cervelo Test Team) "
7. Jose Joaquin Rojas (Spa/Caisse d'Epargne)
8. Marco Bandiera (Ita/Lampre-NGC) "
9. Daniele Bennati (Ita/Liquigas) "
10. William Bonnet (Fra/Bbox Bouygues Telecom) "

Selected others:

55. Bradley Wiggins (GB/Garmin) "
56. Frank Schleck (Lux/Saxo Bank) "
62. Lance Armstrong (US/Astana) "
63. Andy Schleck (Lux/Saxo Bank) "
97. Alberto Contador (Spa/Astana) "
138. David Millar (GB/Garmin) + 30 secs
139. Charles Wegelius (GB/Silence-Lotto)

Overall standings:

1. Alberto Contador (Spa/Astana) 85hrs 48mins 35secs
2. Andy Schleck (Lux/Saxo Bank) + 4mins 11secs
3. Lance Armstrong (US/Astana) + 5mins 24secs
4. Bradley Wiggins (GB/Garmin) + 6mins 01secs
5. Frank Schleck (Lux/Saxo Bank) + 6mins 04secs

Selected others:

59. Charles Weglius (GB/Silence-Lotto) +1hr 29mins 37secs
85. David Millar (GB/Garmin) + 2hrs 15mins 04secs
131. Mark Cavendish (GB/Columbia) + 3hrs 21mins 54secs

Individual stage wins:

1. Mark Cavendish (GB/Columbia) 6
2. Alberto Contador (Spa/Astana) 2

Team:

1. Astana 256 hrs 02mins 58secs
2. Garmin-Slipstream + 22 mins 35 secs
3. Team Saxo Bank + 28mins 34secs
4. AG2R + 31mins 47secs
5. Liquigas + 43mins 31secs
6. Euskaltel + 58mins 05secs
7. Francaise des Jeux +1hr 01min 48secs
8. Cofidis + 1hr 05mins 34secs
9. Team Katusha + 1hr 13mins 57secs
10. Agritubel + 1min 20mins 38secs

Green Jersey (Points):

1. Thor Hushovd (Nor/Cervelo Test Team) 280 points
2. Mark Cavendish (GB/Columbia) 270
3. Gerald Ciolek (Ger/Milram) 172

Red Polka Dot Jersey (Climber):

1. Franco Pellizotti (Ita/Liquigas) 201 points
2. Egoi Martinez (Spa/Euskaltel) 135
3. Alberto Contador (Spa/Astana) 126



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see also
How the 2009 Tour was won
26 Jul 09 |  Cycling
Tour de France final weekend photos
26 Jul 09 |  Cycling
Brave Wiggins holds on to fourth
25 Jul 09 |  Cycling
Wildfires rage in southern Europe
24 Jul 09 |  Europe
Cavendish claims record Tour win
24 Jul 09 |  Cycling
Wiggins boosts Tour podium hopes
23 Jul 09 |  Cycling
Contador moves closer to Tour win
22 Jul 09 |  Cycling


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