Frenchman snares Tour yellow jersey
SAINT-FLOUR, France—Spanish rider Luis Leon Sanchez won Sunday’s crash-marred ninth stage of the Tour de France after forming part of a long breakaway in the mountains, while Frenchman Thomas Voeckler took the yellow jersey and defending champion Alberto Contador overcame another crash.
The 32-year-old Voeckler finished the stage in second place and took over the race leader’s jersey from Thor Hushovd, while Contador banged his troublesome right knee after an early spill. He once defended the yellow jersey for nine days during the 2004 Tour, but he could not match Sanchez as he turned out of a corner and accelerated in the last 300 meters.
The 27-year-old Sanchez is second overall while Australian Cadel Evans is third.
“It was really a hard stage today. The roads were thin the whole day long,” Sanchez said through a translator.
Veteran Kazakh rider Alexandre Vinokourov abandoned the race after crashing near the halfway point of the 208-kilometer trek from Issoire to Saint-Flour.
Vinokourov fractured his right thigh bone and was to be taken by helicopter to a hospital in Paris, his team said, adding that he will undergo immediate surgery.
Spanish rider Juan Antonio Flecha was hit by a car late on, and took down Dutch rider Johnny Hoogerland with him as he flew sideways off his saddle.
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