Tour de France 2010: Chavanel Takes 7th Stage, Yellow Jersey

As predicted, changes rocked the Tour de France general qualification standings on Saturday, as home bet Sylvain Chavanel won the first mountain stage on the Tour and with it regain the leader’s yellow jersey. Chavanel, who first wore the yellow jersey after winning the rain-drenched second stage, finished the 165.5-kilometer 7th stage from Tournus to Station des Rousses 57 seconds ahead of Rafael Valls Ferri.

Chavanel is now 1 minute and 25 seconds ahead of Cadel Evans in the overall standings. Andy Schleck, last year’s runner-up, moved up to fourth place, 1:55 out of the lead. Defending champion Alberto Contador started his ascent, moving up to 6th place, 2:26 behind, after finishing in 13th place in the 7th stage. Seven-time winner Lance Armstrong jumped from 18th to 14th place, but lost time, as he is now 3:16 behind from 2:30 in the previous stage.

Erstwhile yellow jersey holder Fabian Cancellara faded away, as he finished the stage, which featured low- and medium-range climbs, in 84th place, more than 14 minutes after Chavanel reached the finish line. Cancellara is now in 58th place overall, 13:11 behind the new race leader.

Sunday’s 8th stage from Station des Rousses to Morzine-Avoriaz is regarded as the first real test for the contenders, as the riders will face the first real big climb, not to mention another mountain-top finish.