Landis in yellow...just
Floyd Landis (Phonak) has taken over the maillot jaune after placing third in the second Pyrenean stage that finished on Pla-de-Beret. Landis was the last of a three man group that sprinted for the win, with Russian Denis Menchov (Rabobank) taking his first ever Tour stage win ahead of a resurgent Levi Leipheimer (Gerolsteiner) and Landis. Cadel Evans (Davitamon-Lotto) and Carlos Sastre (CSC) were 17 seconds back to round out the top 5.
Overnight leader Cyril Dessel (AG2R) fought valiantly to retain the yellow, but came in at 4'45 - just eight seconds off what he needed to prevent Landis (who gained an eight second time bonus) taking over. He is now in second overall ahead of Menchov (at 1'01), Evans (at 1'17) and Sastre (at 1'52). The question is now whether Landis' Phonak team will be able to defend the jersey next week in the Alps, or whether they may let it go in the coming stages.
The day's early break contained David de la Fuente (Saunier Duval), Fabian Wegmann (Gerolsteiner), Iker Camano (Euskaltel) and Juan Antonio Flecha (Rabobank), escaping after 31 km and building up an 8'30 lead before the foot of the Tourmalet, where the work of AG2R pulled them back to under 4'00 at the top. De la Fuente proved to be the strongest of the break, and lasted until the final climb up to Pla-de-Beret. He was caught and dropped by a group of 20 or so, while the yellow jersey group of Dessel was chasing at a minute. Dessel eventually conceded 4'45 as the lead group shattered to just five riders, with Menchov proving the fastest at the finish.