Alberto Contador is within a stage of winning his second Tour de France as the much anticipated Mont Ventoux stage failed to shake up the GC standings. Tried as they may, the Schleck brothers launched attack after attack, but were not able to shake the rest of the GC contenders.

For Rabobank, Juan Manuel Garate was able to win the penultimate stage 20, staying away with an early break and finishing ahead of Tony Martin for the win. Andy Schleck and the GC leaders finished 38 seconds afterwards.

Stage 20 Results
1 Juan Manuel Garate Cepa (Spa) Rabobank - 4:39:21
2 Tony Martin (Ger) Team Columbia - HTC - 0:00:03
3 Andy Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank - 0:00:38
4 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Astana
5 Lance Armstrong (USA) Astana - 0:00:41
6 Fränk Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank - 0:00:43
7 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Liquigas - 0:00:46
8 Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas - 0:00:56
9 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas - 0:00:58
10 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Garmin - Slipstream - 0:01:03

General classification after stage 20
1 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Astana - 81:46:17
2 Andy Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank - 0:04:11
3 Lance Armstrong (USA) Astana - 0:05:24
4 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Garmin - Slipstream - 0:06:01
5 Fränk Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank - 0:06:04
6 Andreas Klöden (Ger) Astana - 0:06:42
7 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas - 0:07:35
8 Christian Vande Velde (USA) Garmin - Slipstream - 0:12:04
9 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Liquigas - 0:14:16
10 Christophe Le Mevel (Fra) Française des Jeux - 0:14:25

Full results here..

Jersey Standings:
Alberto Contador
Thor Hushovd
Franco Pellizotti
Andy Schleck

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Links to news sites...

"Garate grabs emphatic Ventoux victory
Contador secures yellow

Racing on a hot day in Provence is no mean feat. Spending 164km in a breakaway and taking on the famed slopes of the Mont Ventoux without the protection of a group is something else all together. Think it couldn't happen? Don't tell Juan Manuel Garate.

Garate displayed his climbing strength on the Passo Di San Pellegrino during the 2006 Giro d'Italia, taking out stage 19 in the heart of the Dolomites following a similar scenario with another German, Jens Voigt. On that occasion - albeit riding for Quick Step - he kicked late in the 224km journey from Pordenone and took the spoils." Read more from CyclingNews...

"Garate wins on Ventoux
Astana defends as Andy Schleck's tireless aggression fails to upset the top GC positions

Rabobank finally got a victory in the 2009 Tour de France as Juan Manuel Garate joined an early break on Saturday and stayed away to win the penultimate stage atop the forbidding summit of Mont Ventoux.

Saxo Bank's Andy Schleck did all he could do to upset the top of the GC - his team powered the peloton much of the day and Schleck led the yellow jersey group for much of the climb, attacking alone and with his brother Frank.

However, Schleck was unable to shake race leader Alberto Contador or third-placed Lance Armstrong and Contador retained his overall lead heading into the final, largely ceremonial, stage into Paris on Sunday." Read more from

"Podium finish isn't bad for veteran Armstrong

(AFP) LE MONT VENTOUX, France - Lance Armstrong said he will be happy with a place on the podium in Paris as he lies third overall after Saturday's 20th stage.

Having won the last of his seven Tour de France titles in 2005, Astana's Armstrong ended his four year hiatus to compete in this year's race and will ride into Paris on Sunday in third behind yellow jersey holder Alberto Contador.

Luxemburg's 24-year-old Andy Schleck is at 4:11 behind the 26-year-old Spaniard, while Armstrong, 37, is at 5:24 and says he has no complaints on his Tour return especially having been up against younger rivals.

"I can't complain, for an old fart coming in here and getting on the podium with these young guys is not so bad," grinned the Texan." Read more from the AFP...

"Cyclist Wiggins misses podium

(AFP) - LE MONT VENTOUX, France - Olympic pursuit champion Bradley Wiggins came up short in his bid for an historic podium place for Britain when he finished the 20th stage behind Lance Armstrong on Saturday.

The Garmin rider is now set to finish the race fourth overall at 6min 01sec behind Spaniard Alberto Contador, Armstrong's teammate at Astana, who is virtually assured of his second crown on Sunday.

The 21st and final stage to Paris is usually dominated by the sprinters and riders battling for the race's green jersey." Read more from the AFP...