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Gerdemann makes a clean break

Jamey Keaten Associated Press

LE GRAND-BORNAND, France – Linus Gerdemann hadn’t even finished celebrating his first Tour de France stage victory before sounding a loud drumbeat from the winner’s circle: Races can and should be won clean.

The 24-year-old German, riding in his first Tour, captured the leader’s yellow jersey as cycling’s premiere event entered three days in the Alps with Saturday’s seventh stage.

Gerdemann’s T-Mobile team has been scarred more than most over doping revelations, and has responded in the past year by enacting some of the toughest anti-doping policies in the sport.

Gerdemann clocked 4 hours, 53 minutes, 13 seconds. Inigo Landaluze of Spain was second, 46 seconds back. David de la Fuente of Spain was third, 1:39 back.

Overall, Gerdemann leads Landaluze by 1:24 and De La Fuente by 2:45, and will don the yellow jersey today for the second of three punishing Alpine rides. The 102.5-mile stage from Le Grand Bornand to Tignes features six climbs – including an uphill finish.

Gerdemann is the second rider to don the yellow jersey this year, after Swiss rider Fabian Cancellara held it for the first eight days. Cancellara finished 22:27 behind.

In postrace news conferences, Gerdemann used the word “clean” at least six times. He spoke about blood tests he had undergone. He decried the harm done by doping in the sport, and said he understood fans have doubts.

“It’s really hard for young riders to take the responsibility now,” Gerdemann said. “But the sport gave a lot to me in the past – and now I think it’s the right moment to give something back.”

It was a fresh voice at an event where many riders and staffers refuse to discuss doping or get short-tempered even when the word comes up – saying they want to focus only on “the sport.”

Gerdemann won by speeding out from a group of breakaway riders during the 123-mile ride from Bourg-en-Bresse to Le Grand-Bornand, featuring a winding ascent up La Colombiere Pass, the first category 1 climb this year.

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