Contador Secures Tour de France Title

Alberto Contador is poised to become the Tour de France champion for the second-straight year after beating main competitor Andy Schleck by 31 seconds in Saturday’s 54-kilometer time trial from Bordeaux to Pauillac.

Contador, who was also the Tour champion in 2007, finished the 19th stage in 35th place, but it was enough to increase his lead over Schleck to 39 seconds. Schleck had his best time trial on the Tour but it was not enough to erase the 8-second deficit he needed to make up in order to overtake Contador. Barring any disastrous mishap in Sunday’s 20th and final stage, Contador and Schleck are expected to finish first and second, respectively. Denis Menchov of team Rabobank would likely snatch the last podium slot after overtaking Samuel Sanchez in the overall standing.

Time trial specialist Fabian Cancellara lived up to his billing by topping the 19th stage with a time of 1 hour and 56 seconds, 17 seconds better than second-placer Tony Martin.

Sprinters are expected to fight it out for the final stage on Sunday with Contador and Schleck likely to take it easy after going at each for more than three weeks.