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Schleck takes lead, 2009 champ lurks

SAINT-JEAN-DE-MAURIENNE, France — Andy Schleck of Luxembourg captured the overall lead at the Tour de France at the end of Tuesday's mountainous ninth stage, won by French rider Sandy Casar.

Schleck took the yellow jersey from Australia's Cadel Evans and finished alongside two-time and defending Tour winner Alberto Contador. Contador and Schleck were two seconds back of Casar, setting the stage for a two-man fight for the title. Schleck leads his Spanish rival by 41 seconds.

Evans was dropped on the fabled Madeleine pass and lost more than eight minutes on Schleck and Contador, falling to 18th overall. BMC Racing Team doctor Max Testa said Evans was riding with a "small but very painful" fracture on his elbow after crashing in Sunday's eighth stage.

Seven-time champion Lance Armstrong fared relatively well as many other riders dropped off on one of the toughest climbs in cycling. The Texan finished 18th, 2:50 behind.

Casar led a sprint among seven breakaway riders at the finish of the 127-mile trek from Morzine to Saint-Jean-La-Maurienne — the second and final day in the Alps containing three tough climbs. Casar, Luis-Leon Sanchez in second and Damiano Cunego in third all clocked 5 hours, 38 minutes, 10 seconds.

fast facts

Tour de France

Tuesday: Sandy Casar of France won the mountainous ninth stage.

Armstrong watch: Rose from 39th to 31st, trails leader Andy Schleck by 15:54.

Today: 10th stage, 111.2 miles, Chambery to Gap

TV: 8 a.m., Versus

Schleck takes lead, 2009 champ lurks 07/13/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 13, 2010 9:26pm]

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