Two-time defending champion Alberto Contador is once again the favorite as the Tour de France heads into the Pyrénéan climbs this week and next week’s Alpine stages.
Mark Cavendish blew kisses to the crowd as he crossed the finish line in Lavaur, France yesterday. HTC-Highroad’s British sprinter was celebrating his third stage win of this year’s Tour de France, but also bidding adieu: He won’t have many more chances to win a stage until the Champs-Élysées.
Mr. Cavendish and his fellow sprinters are now moving aside as the battle for the yellow jersey – professional cycling’s most coveted prize – begins in earnest, when riders tackle steep gradients and long descents throughout the Pyrénées.
IN PICTURES: Cycling in stages: Tour de France 2011
Once again, the two-time defending champion Contador is favored heading into the Pyrénéan climbs and next week’s Alpine stages.
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