Contador wins Tour de France

Published 2:47 am Monday, July 27, 2009

PARIS — Lance Armstrong’s children were dressed in yellow. He was not.

When the seven-time Tour de France champion returned to the Tour podium Sunday, his family was there. His fans were there. And so was rival and teammate Alberto Contador — wearing the coveted and hard-won yellow jersey.

Four years after his seventh Tour win, Armstrong capped his return with an impressive third-place finish. He had his whole clan on hand — son Luke, twin girls Grace and Isabelle, his mom, Linda, and his girlfriend Anna Hansen, with their baby Max, sporting bright yellow shoes.

They were among the massive crowd that poured out onto Paris’ most famous avenue for the finish — Norwegians in Viking helmets, flag-waving Britons and an American in a stars-and-stripes top hat among them.

Contador cruised down the Champs-Elysees to win the Tour for a second time Sunday after 2,141 miles over three weeks of racing. He repelled many challenges in the mountains, excelled in the two time-trials — winning a pivotal race against the clock in the 18th stage — and won the first Alpine stage.

Andy Schleck of Luxembourg, Contador’s toughest rival in the mountains, was second overall.

As the 37-year-old Armstrong climbed onto the stage, he gave a perfunctory handshake to his teammate Contador, then heartily grabbed Schleck’s hand with both hands.