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WORLD SPORT

Voigt wins as Pereiro takes yellow

story.voigt.jpg
Voigt celebrates his stage win by second-placed Pereiro takes yellow.

MONTELIMAR, France -- Spaniard Oscar Pereiro Sio claimed the Tour de France yellow jersey from Floyd Landis after Saturday's 13th stage of the race, won by German Jens Voigt.

Voigt outsprinted Pereiro after five hours 24 minutes and 36 seconds in the saddle on the longest stage of this year's race.

American Landis finished in the middle of the peloton, 29:57 behind, and slipped to second place overall -- 1:29 adrift of Pereiro Sio who had started the day in 46th place.

"It may be the most beautiful day in my life," said Voigt, whose only other stage win was on the 2001 Tour.

"It was the fifth time I was part of a breakaway this year. Things eventually turned my way," added the 34-year-old who topped the overall standings for two days, including a rest day, last year.

"When the lead reached 20 minutes, I thought I could get first in the general classification, said Pereiro Sio, who won a stage last year in Pau. "With 5km to go, I thought 30 minutes is okay.

"I don't have the stage but I have the yellow jersey. The heat was incredible. Voigt was stronger than me in the sprint. Congratulations to him," added the 28-year-old Caisse d'Epargne rider.

Voigt (CSC) and Pereiro Sio (Caisse d'Epargne) powered away from two other escapees, France's Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis) and Manuel Quinziato (Liquigas) of Italy, in the final few kilometers.

Chavanel finished third just ahead of Quinziato, 40 seconds adrift of Voigt.

A fifth member of the breakaway, Ukrainian Andriy Grivko (Milram) dropped off the group in the last of the five fourth-category climbs which punctuated the course, 25km from the line.

The five riders had escaped at the 21km mark.

Despite the scorching heat, with temperatures up to 42 degrees Celsius, they pushed themselves along the 230km stage from the Mediterranean city of Beziers to Montelimar, the gateway to Provence, through the foothills of the Massif Central.

The peloton let them go -- with Landis' Phinak team seemingly uninterested in defending the yellow jersey.

Sunday's 14th stage will take the riders from Montelimar to Gap over 181km. There are four climbs of third and second category, the last one 10km from the line.

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