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h0200 BC-CYC-TourdeFrance 2ndLd-Writethru 07-11 0293

Sanchez wins seventh stage

AURILLAC, France — Luis-Leon Sanchez of Spain won the seventh stage of the Tour de France Friday, moving ahead 2 1/2 miles from the end and then holding on for the victory.

Kim Kirchen of Luxembourg retained the yellow jersey as overall leader after Friday’s stage from Brioude to Aurillac in the Auvergne.

Caisse d’Epargne’s Sanchez was part of a group of four riders which broke away before the major climb but was caught toward the end of the race.

The Spaniard slipped away again at the end and this time was able to hold on. Sanchez came in six seconds ahead of a large group led by former yellow jersey Stefan Schumacher of Germany and Filippo Pozzato of Italy. Kirchen was fourth.

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The Tour favorites all rode close to the front of the main group and appeared to be watching each other but did not seek to gain time over the others.

The big losers of the day were Damiano Cunego, the 2004 Giro champion, and fifth-place David Millar of Britain, who lost 33 seconds each. Sylvain Chavanel of France lost the polka-dot jersey for best climber to David de la Fuente of Spain, who was part of the four-man breakaway.

There was no change to the top of the overall standings, where Kirchen leads Cadel Evans of Australia by six seconds and Schumacher by 16. Millar dropped to seventh.

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