Andy Schleck of Luxembourg captured the overall lead at the Tour de France Tuesday at the end of a mountainous ninth stage won by French rider Sandy Casar. Schleck took the yellow jersey from Australia's Cadel Evans, who only wore it for one day, after finishing seventh in the stage, two seconds behind Casar and alongside two-time Tour winner Alberto Contador.
Evans was dropped on the fabled Madeleine pass and lost more than 8 minutes on Schleck and Contador. Casar led a sprint among seven breakaway riders at the finish of the 204.5-kilometer trek from Morzine to Saint-Jean-La-Maurienne - the second and final day in the Alps containing three tough climbs.
The Jeux rider collected his third career stage win at the Tour, blazing ahead of Luis-Leon Sanchez in second and Damiano Cunego in third. "It's pure happiness," the 31-year-old Casar said. "I wanted it so much it couldn't have happened any other way." Contador and Schleck trailed just behind Casar, setting the stage for a two-man fight for the title. Schleck leads his Spanish rival by 41 seconds, while Sanchez jumped to third and trails the leader by 2:45. Evans finished 8 minutes, 9 seconds back from Casar, in 42nd place. The two-time Tour runner-up broke down after the finish, burying his head in the hug of a BMC Racing teammate and sobbing. Seven-time champion Lance Armstrong fared well as many other riders dropped off the title contenders on the Madeleine - one of the toughest climbs in cycling. The United States rider finished 18th, 2:50 behind Casar.