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Team lifts world champ to front of bunched field

LES ESSARTS, France — Thor Hushovd of Norway captured the overall lead at the Tour de France on Sunday after his Garmin-Cervelo team won the time trial in the second stage of the race.

Hushovd, the world champion, took the yellow jersey from Philippe Gilbert of Belgium. Hushovd, who led the team across the finish, has the same overall time as teammate David Millar. Cadel Evans of Australia is third, just a second behind.

"I would love to keep this jersey on my shoulders for as long as possible," Hushovd said. "I know it will be hard in Stage 4 when we go up to Mur de Bretagne. If a rider like Cadel Evans is attacking me, it will be hard to stay on his wheel."

The Garmin-Cervelo team finished in 24 minutes, 48 seconds around the 14.3-mile mostly flat stage in Les Essarts.

Alberto Contador's Saxo-Bank team posted a time of 25:16, and the defending Tour champ fell to 75th, 1:42 behind Hushovd. Afterward, Contador said, "I might not even be the biggest favorite to win overall anymore."

Evans countered: "With a guy like Alberto, he's such an all-rounder. If you want to beat him, you have to take time everywhere you can on him. In two days, it's been successful, but it's early days yet."

Andy Schleck of Luxembourg gained 24 seconds on Contador as his Leopard Trek team finished fourth. Schleck, who finished second to Contador the past two Tours, leaped to 10th in the overall standings, four seconds behind Hushovd.

>>FAST FACTS

Tour de France

Sunday: Stage 2, 14.3-mile team time trial won by Garmin-Cervelo in 24 minutes, 48 seconds

Yellow jersey: Thor Hushovd of Garmin; same overall time as teammate David Millar. They are 1 second ahead of Cadel Evans.

Today: Olonne-Sur-Mer to Redon, 123 miles

TV: 8 a.m., Versus

Team lifts world champ to front of bunched field 07/03/11 [Last modified: Sunday, July 3, 2011 10:28pm]
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