Contador climbs past Rasmussen to claim Stage 14


PLATEAU DE BEILLE, France (AP) – Alberto Contador of Spain won the 14th stage of the Tour de France on Sunday by surging up the final climb ahead of Michael Rasmussen, who finished second to extend his overall lead.

Contador kissed his hand and pointed skyward as he finished a bike length ahead of Rasmussen in 5 hours, 25 seconds, 48 seconds to take his first stage victory in the race. The promising 24-year-old Spaniard, who placed third among young cyclists in the 2005 Tour, leapfrogged into second overall 2:23 behind Rasmussen.

The big loser of the day was Cadel Evans, who had begun the stage in second place, 1 minute behind Rasmussen. The Australian fell behind in the last 3 miles and dropped to third overall, 3:04 back.

Colombia’s Juan Mauricio Soler was third in the stage, 37 seconds back.

Contador and Rasmussen finished alone after outpacing a small group of breakaway riders late in the 122-mile stage from Mazamet to Plateau de Beille in the Pyrenees that featured two very difficult climbs.