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Top riders patient as heat wave slows race

LES ROUSSES, France — Lance Armstrong said it was hot. Andy Schleck said it was hot.

It was 95 degrees in the Alps on Saturday, hot enough to make the pavement melt in some places. Armstrong said he wished for rain during Stage 7 of the Tour de France, and thunder and hail hit — an hour after the cyclists made it onto their buses.

And for one more day the contenders watched one another closely and held back attacks.

Frenchman Sylvain Chavanel won his second stage of the Tour, a 103-mile trip from Tournus to Station des Rousses, and took the leader's spot from Fabian Cancellara. Contenders Armstrong, Schleck, Alberto Contador and Cadel Evans neither gained nor lost time against one another.

If there was a disappointed contender, it might have been BMC Racing's Evans, the Australian who finished second in 2007.

Evans moved to second overall, 1:25 behind Chavanel, but Schleck said, "I expected Cadel to get the (yellow) jersey."

Seven-time champ Armstrong is 14th, 3:16 behind Chavanel, heading into today's much more difficult stage — with five rated climbs — to Morzine-Avoriaz.

"It's super, super hard, and if temperatures are like this, we'll see people stuck in the road," Armstrong said.

FAST FACTS

Tour de France

Saturday: France's Sylvain Chavanel won and took the overall lead from Fabian Cancellara, who fell to 58th.

Armstrong watch: Moved up to 14th, 3:16 behind

Today: Eighth stage, 117.4 miles, Station des Rousses to Morzine Avoriaz

TV: 7:30 a.m., Versus

Top riders patient as heat wave slows race 07/10/10 [Last modified: Saturday, July 10, 2010 8:49pm]
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