July 10, 2009

Nocentini is overall Tour de France leader

Brice Feillu won Friday's stage of the Tour de France but Rinaldo Nocentini's fourth-place finish was enough to give him the overall race lead.

Feillu covered the 134.4-mile course from Barcelona, Spain, to Arcalis, Andorra, in 6 hours, 11 minutes, 31 seconds. Christophe Kern was 5 seconds back and finished second while Johannes Frohlinger was 20 seconds more behind. Nocentini was 1 second behind Frohlinger.

Friday's route included a Category 1 climb midway through the stage and finished with an Uncategorized Climb in the final miles. That climb took the riders up an extra 1,185 feet in elevation.

Feillu was undaunted by the altitude and grabbed the lead with 3 miles to go and led the rest of the way.

Alberto Contador, who has led the overall standings since last Saturday's opening stage, mounted a late sprint and wound up ninth on the day. He trails Nocentini by 6 seconds. Lance Armstrong, who had been in a virtual tie with Contador, is in third, 8 seconds off the pace.

The eighth stage Saturday begins in Andorra la Vella n Andorra and heads 106 miles to Saint-Girons, France. There are two Category 1 and one Category 2 climbs on the route.