Luis-Leon Sanchez of Spain won the seventh stage of the Tour de France Friday, moving ahead with 2 1/2 miles to go and holding on for the victory.
Kim Kirchen of Luxembourg retained the yellow jersey as the overall leader after Friday’s windy stage of 99 miles from Brioude to Aurillac in the Auvergne.
Caisse d’Epargne’s Sanchez was part of a group of four riders that broke away before the major climb but was caught toward the end of the race.
The Spaniard slipped away again at the end and this time was able to hold on. Sanchez finished six seconds ahead of a large group led by former yellow jersey Stefan Schumacher of Germany and Filippo Pozzato of Italy. Kirchen was fourth
The Tour favorites all rode close to the front of the main group and came in together. Despite attempts by several teams—including CSC and Garmin-Chipotle — to break the race apart, they could not be separated.
The big losers of the day were crash victim Damiano Cunego, the 2004 Giro champion, and fifth-place finisher David Millar of Britain. Each came in 33 seconds behind the winner. Sylvain Chavanel of France lost the polka-dot jersey for best climber to David de la Fuente of Spain, who was part of the four-man breakaway.
There was no change at the top of the overall standings, where Kirchen leads Cadel Evans of Australia by six seconds and Schumacher by 16. Millar dropped to seventh.
1. Luis Leon Sanchez (ESP), Caisse d’Epargne, 159km in 3:52:53 (40.965kph)
2. Stefan Schumacher (GER), Gerolsteiner at s.t.
3. Filippo Pozzato (ITA), Liquigas 0:06.
4. Kim Kirchen (LUX), Team Columbia 0:06.
5. Alejandro Valverde (ESP), Caisse d’Epargne 0:06.
6. Oscar Pereiro (ESP), Caisse d’Epargne 0:06.
7. Samuel Sanchez (ESP), Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:06.
8. Josep Jufre (ESP), Saunier Duval 0:06.
9. Christian Vande Velde (USA), Garmin-Chipotle 0:06.
10. Andy Schleck (LUX), CSC 0:06.
1. Kim Kirchen (LUX), Team Columbia at 28:23:40.
2. Cadel Evans (AUS), Silence-Lotto at 0:06.
3. Stefan Schumacher (GER), Gerolsteiner at 0:16.
4. Christian Vande Velde (USA), Garmin-Chipotle at 0:44.
5. Denis Menchov (RUS), Rabobank at 1:03.
6. Alejandro Valverde (ESP), Caisse d’Epargne at 1:12.
7. David Millar (GBR), Garmin-Chipotle at 1:14.
8. Stijn Devolder (BEL), Quick Step at 1:21.
9. Oscar Pereiro (ESP), Caisse d’Epargne 1:21.
10. Thomas Lovkvist (SWE), Team Columbia 1:21.