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Stage 15 wrap-up

Frank Schleck (CSC)

Frank Schleck (CSC) (Image credit: AFP)

Landis back in yellow as Schleck wins on l'Alpe

Three days after giving away the yellow jersey to Oscar Pereiro, Floyd Landis (Phonak) has taken it back in the 15th stage that finished on L'Alpe d'Huez. Landis placed fourth in the stage that was won by Luxembourger Frank Schleck (CSC), who survived an early break to beat Damiano Cunego (Lampre) by 11 seconds. Stefano Garzelli (Liquigas) was also part of that break, but held onto the Landis group to finish third at 1'10. Landis now leads the race by just 10 seconds from Oscar Pereiro, but he has more than two minutes on the rest of his rivals.

The 187 km stage was dominated by a 25 man breakaway that formed after 28 km: Frank Schleck, Jens Voigt, David Zabriskie (Team CSC), George Hincapie and Egoi Martinez (Discovery Channel), Eddy Mazzoleni (T-Mobile), Axel Merckx (Phonak), Damiano Cunego and Patxi Vila (Lampre-Fondital), Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis), David De La Fuente and Ruben Lobato (Saunier Duval), Stefano Garzelli (Liquigas) were all part of it. Garzelli attacked on the Col d'Izoard to take the points at the summit, but was brought back to heel by the reduced size break after the descent, with the peloton at 6'30.

The leaders numbered 15 on the final run into l'Alpe d'Huez, and as the first of the 21 switchbacks started, the contenders quickly sorted themselves out. Schleck and Cunego were the strongest, and were joined by Mazzoleni for a while until the latter was called back to help his team captain Andreas Klöden, who together with Floyd Landis had gotten rid the rest of the GC contenders on the climb. Schleck attacked Cunego inside 2 km to go to ride away for the win, while Landis and Klöden swallowed up Garzelli, Lobato and Chavanel, with Garzelli sprinting to take third. Maillot jaune Pereiro finished 14th at 2'49, and lost his jersey by just 10 seconds.

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