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Contenders gain on Thomas Voeckler

Updated: July 19, 2011, 7:09 PM ET
Associated Press

GAP, France -- Alberto Contador has finally put the hammer down at the Tour de France -- and now, the race is really on.

Minutes behind the race leader, the defending champion surprised key rivals with a brazen attack on a relatively easy climb in the Alpine foothills in Tuesday's Stage 16, won by Thor Hushovd of Norway in a breakaway.

Contador, baring his teeth as his tires sizzled on the rain-slick roads, surged out of the pack on the mid-grade Col de Magne climb and held on through ...

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