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July 24, 2009

2009 Tour de France

The 96th Tour de France cycling race is currently underway, with the final, 21st stage of the 3,445 km (2,141 mi) race coming up on Sunday, July 26th. At this time, Alberto Contado of Kazakh team Astana appears to be headed toward a second tour title, currently leading riders Andy Schleck of Team Saxo Bank and Luxembourg and, in 3rd place, Lance Armstrong, also of team Astana. Armstrong's recent emergence from retirement to return to this year's tour has been the focus of much of this year's media coverage. 180 riders in twenty teams started in Monaco on July 4th, heading for the final ride into Paris this weekend. Collected here are a handful of images from the 2009 race. (40 photos total)

The Columbia Highroad team sets the pace of the pack during the third stage of the Tour de France in southern France, Monday July 6, 2009. (AP Photo/Bas Czerwinski)

French cycling team BBOX Bouygues Telecom's leader Thomas Vockler of France celebrates on the finish line before winning the 196.5 km fifth stage of the 2009 Tour de France on on July 8, 2009. (PATRICK HERTZOG/AFP/Getty Images) #

The peloton approaches during the sixth stage of the 96th Tour de France between Gerona and Barcelona July 9, 2009. (REUTERS/Bogdan Cristel) #

Spanish cycling team Euskatel-Euskadi (Eus)'s Egoi Martinez of Spain takes a rest at an anti-doping control bus area on July 12, 2009 at the end of the 160 km ninth stage of the 2009 Tour de France. (LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP/Getty Images) #

The pack rides at Aspin pass on July 12, 2009 during the 160 km ninth stage of the 2009 Tour de France. (JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images) #

Bradley Wiggins of Britain speeds down Col du Tourmalet in the Pyrenees mountains during the 9th stage of the Tour de France on Sunday July 12, 2009. (AP Photo/Bas Czerwinski) #

Kazakh cycling team Astana (AST)'s Lance Armstrong of the United States is photographed during a training session on July 13, 2009 in Limoges on the first of the two rest days. (JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images) #

A Kazakh cycling team Astana (AST) bicycle chain is washed at Novotel hotel on July 13, 2009 in Limoges on the first of the two rest days of the 2009 Tour de France. (JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images) #

Overall leader Fabien Cancellara of Switzerland, of the Danish cycling team Team Saxo Bank (yellow jersey) rides in the pack on July 5, 2009 in the Principalty of Monaco, at the start of the 182 km second stage of the 2009 Tour de France. (JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images) #

Racers pass through a tunnel during the third stage of the Tour de France in southern France, Monday July 6, 2009. (AP Photo/Bas Czerwinski) #

Team Columbia rider and sprinter's green jersey Mark Cavendish of Great Britain adjusts his glasses before the start of the third stage of the 96th Tour de France cycling race between Marseille and La Grande-Motte, July 6, 2009. (REUTERS/Bogdan Cristel) #

The peloton leaves Marseille behind during stage three of the 2009 Tour de France on July 6, 2009 in Marseille, France. (Jasper Juinen/Getty Images) #

Belgian cycling team Quick Step (QST)'s rider Tom Boonen of Belgium concentrates on July 7, 2009 before the start of the 39 km team time-trial and fourth stage of the 2009 Tour de France. (JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images) #

Dutch cycling team Rabobank (RAB)'s Robert Gesink is pictured in an ambulance after injuring his wrist and leg in a crash on July 8, 2009 during the fifth stage of the Tour de France. (Koen van Weel/AFP/Getty Images) #

The peloton rides over a bridge heading into the French countryside on stage nine of the 2009 Tour de France from Limoges to Issoudun, on July 14, 2009. (Bryn Lennon/Getty Images) #

Kazakh cycling team Astana (AST)'s leader Alberto Contador of Spain (center) rides in the pack on July 14, 2009 during the the 2009 Tour de France's tenth stage. (PATRICK HERTZOG/AFP/Getty Images) #

French cycling team AG2R-La Mondiale (ALM)'s Rinaldo Nocentini sits inside the anti-doping control bus on July 14, 2009 at the end of the tenth stage of the 2009 Tour de France. (LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP/Getty Images) #

The pack rides down a country road on July 15, 2009 during the race's eleventh stage between Vatan and Saint-Fargeau. (JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images) #

The peloton makes its way past fields of sunflowers during stage 11 of the 2009 Tour de France from Vatan to Saint-Fargeau-Ponthierry on July 15, 2009 in Vatan, France. (Jasper Juinen/Getty Images) #

Angelo Furlan of Italy grimaces as Dr. Gerard Porte treats his wounds after he crashed during the 11th stage of the Tour de France in central France on July 15, 2009. (AP Photo/Bas Czerwinski) #

The peloton passes by on July 15, 2009 in the eleventh stage of the 2009 Tour de France run between Vatan and Saint-Fargeau. (JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images) #

Mark Cavendish of Great Britain and Team Columbia HTC celebrates after sprinting to victory flanked by runner up Tyler Farrar (right) of USA and team Garmin-Slipstream at the finishline of the 11th stage of the 2009 Tour de France on July 15, 2009 in Saint-Fargeau-Ponthierry, France. (Jasper Juinen/Getty Images) #

Dutch cycling team Skil-Shimano (SKS)'s Fumiyuki Beppu of Japan answers journalists' questions on July 16, 2009 in Tonnerre before the start of the 200 km and twelfth stage of the 2009 Tour de France. (LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP/Getty Images) #

The peloton rides past wheat fields during stage 12 of the 2009 Tour de France from Tonnerre to Vittel on July 16, 2009. (Jasper Juinen/Getty Images) #

German fan Dieter "Didi" Senft, or "El Diablo", leaps as race leaders ride in a breakaway on July 16, 2009 during the twelfth stage of the 2009 Tour de France. (JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images) #

Mark Cavendish of Britain, wearing the best sprinter's green jersey, left, eyes his rival for the green jersey Thor Hushovd of Norway, right in white Cervelo jersey, during the final sprint of the the 12th stage of the Tour de France in Vittel, France on July 16, 2009. (AP Photo/Laurent Rebours) #

Nicki Sorensen of Denmark reacts as he crosses the finish line to win the 12th stage of the Tour de France in Vittel, France, on July 16, 2009. (AP Photo/Laurent Rebours) #

Decorations on the bicycle of US cycling Team Columbia-High Road (THR)'s leader Mark Cavendish of Great Britain, on July 17, 2009 during the thirteenth stage of the 2009 Tour de France. (JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images) #

Belgian cycling team Quick Step (QST)'s Sylvain Chavanel of France sprints to finish in fourth place on July 17, 2009 in the thirteenth stage of the 2009 Tour de France. (PASCAL PAVANI/AFP/Getty Images) #

Racers ride in a heavy rain on July 17, 2009 in the thirteenth stage of the 2009 Tour de France. (JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images) #

Kazakh cycling team Astana (AST)'s Lance Armstrong rides in the pack under heavy rains on July 17, 2009 in the thirteenth stage of the 2009 Tour de France. (JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images) #

Cervelo Test Team rider Heinrich Haussler of Germany celebrates on the podium after winning the 13th stage of the Tour de France on July 17, 2009. (REUTERS/Charles Platiau) #

Thor Hushovd of Norway, wearing the best sprinter's green jersey, speeds down Etroits pass, Switzerland, during the 15th stage of the Tour de France on Sunday July 19, 2009. (AP Photo/Bas Czerwinski) #

Lance Armstrong of USA and team Astana rides in the first time trail of the 2009 Tour de France on July 4, 2009 in Monaco. (Jasper Juinen/Getty Images) #

Team Saxo Bank rider Jens Voigt of Germany lies on the ground after a hard fall during the 16th stage of the 96th Tour de France on July 21, 2009. Voigt suffered a fractured right cheekbone and a severe concussion. (REUTERS/Bogdan Cristel) #

Kazakh cycling team Astana's leader Alberto Contador of Spain rides in the sixteenth stage of the Tour de France between Martigny and Bourg Saint-Maurice on July 21, 2009. (JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images) #

Alberto Contador of Spain and Kazakh cycling team Astana is pictured after the signature ceremony on July 21, 2009 in Martigny (Switzerland) before the start of the sixteenth stage of the 2009 Tour de France. (LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP/Getty Images) #

Andy Schleck of Luxembourg and team Saxo Bank rides in the individual time trail during stage 18 of the 2009 Tour de France on July 23, 2009 in Annecy, France. (Jasper Juinen/Getty Images) #

Danish cycling team Team Saxo Bank (SAX)'s Frank Schleck of Luxemburg (right) celebrates on the finish line as he wins the seventeenth stage of the 2009 Tour de France on July 22, 2009. Frank Schleck won, ahead of team Astana's Alberto Contador (left) and his brother Andy Schleck, the leader of Team Saxo Bank (center). (PATRICK HERTZOG/AFP/Getty Images) #

Thor Hushovd of Norway and the Cervelo Test Team rides along Lake Annecy during stage 18 - a 40km time trial in the 2009 Tour de France on July 23, 2009. (Bryn Lennon/Getty Images) #

 
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