Cycling: Jalabert storms to victory on Bastille Day

Frenchman Laurent Jalabert showed true grit to storm clear and win the seventh stage of the Tour de France on Bastille Day.

Frenchman Laurent Jalabert showed true grit to storm clear and win the seventh stage of the Tour de France on Bastille Day.

The CSC-Tiscali rider became the first Frenchman to win two stages on France’s national day, repeating his 1995 triumph in Monde.

The 32-year-old’s victory in Colmar, his second of this year’s Tour, is all the more remarkable considering he broke a bone in his back in February when he fell off a ladder.

Jalabert, who finished fourth in the 1995 Tour, moves up to second in the overall rankings, two minutes and 34 seconds behind new Tour leader Jens Voigt.

‘‘I feel better since having won a stage in Verdun,’’ Jalabert said.

‘‘This one I claimed thanks to my courage.’’

Voigt finished today’s stage from Strasbourg 11 seconds adrift of Jalabert, but it was enough for the Credit Agricole star to take the yellow jersey off team-mate Stuart O’Grady.

The Australian finished in the main peloton that came home four minutes and 28 seconds behind the Frenchman.

Also in the main group were defending champion Lance Armstrong, now almost six minutes behind Jalabert in 15th, and 1997 winner Jan Ullrich, who is 27 seconds and four places further adrift.

Jalabert had led a five-man breakaway 25 kilometres from the finish and surprised the group by sprinting clear in the closing stages before holding on for his fourth career Tour stage win.

Brit David Millar struggled again, coming in 25 minutes behind the leaders to retain the ‘lantern rouge’ for the last-placed competitor in the race.

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