Sastre Retains Lead after 19th Stage of Tour

July 25, 2008 9:02:21 AM PDT
Carlos Sastre of Spain kept the overall lead in the Tour de France on Friday, while Sylvain Chavanel won the 19th stage. Sastre heads into the final weekend ahead of CSC teammate Frank Schleck of Luxembourg by 1 minute, 24 seconds. Bernhard Kohl of Austria is third, 1:33 back.

The race is likely to be decided during Saturday's final time trial. The Tour ends Sunday in Paris. Chavanel beat fellow French rider Jeremy Roy in a two-man sprint after they broke away from the main pack during the 103-mile ride from Roanne to Montlucon.

Chavanel, a 29-year-old rider with the Cofidis team, won his first Tour stage. He broke down in tears at the finish line. "My first thought when I crossed the line was for my best friend who committed suicide last year," Chavanel said. "He would have been happy for me."

The race contenders finished in the main pack more than a minute after the French riders.

Christophe Brandt, a Belgian rider on Evans' Silence Lotto team, dropped out of the race Friday because he wasn't feeling well, a team spokesman said.

Damiano Cunego of Italy didn't start Friday, a day after he crashed and cut his chin.


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