Thursday 15, Sep 2011
Title defense for three-time Tour de France winner Alberto Contador started in the worst possible manner.
Accused of using clenbuterol in the past, Contador lost one minute 20 seconds to the other favorites after being held back by a crash nine kilometers from the finish of the 191.5-km first stage.
The stage win and the first leader’s yellow jersey in this 98th edition of the race went to Belgian champion Philippe Gilbert, who surged ahead in the last 400 meters to snatch his 13th victory of the season.
Recently crowned Belgian champion and number one in the world rankings, Gilbert grabbed more honors with his first Tour stage win and his first yellow jersey.
On the finish line, Gilbert beat the last two road world champions – Australian Cadel Evans, who finished three seconds adrift and Norway’s Thor Hushovd, who came home six seconds behind.
Gilbert said, “It was my goal, I knew I had a great opportunity to win the stage and take the yellow jersey, which I had never done before.”
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