Contador Wins Tour de France, Armstrong Says Goodbye
The changing of the guard at the Tour de France was completed on Sunday as Alberto Contador claimed his third title in four years and Lance Armstrong bid goodbye to the event he dominated for seven years.
Contador drove into Paris with main rival Andy Schleck and the rest of the peloton at the end of the 20th stage, concluding a grueling 23 days that saw several crashes and clashes between riders. Mark Cavendish won the stage in a sprint finish for his fifth victory on the Tour this year, beating Alessandro Petacchi and Julian Dean.
In the general classification, Contador beat Schleck by 39 seconds and Denis Menchov took the last podium spot, 2 minutes and one second behind the Spanish champion. Armstrong did not come out empty handed in his last Tour, as Team RadioShack took home the team title. Armstrong finished 23rd overall, 39:20 behind Contador, his former teammate and rival.
Armstrong will go away as the Tour’s winningest rider with seven-straight titles from 1999 to 2005, a legacy strengthened by his remarkable comeback from cancer, but marred by doping allegations. Contador, on the other hand, has now joined Greg LeMond, Louison Bobet, and Philippe Thys as three-time champions, and at only 27, very much on course to equal, if not surpass, Armstrong’s feat.