Sergiy Honchar Takes Lead in Tour de France

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Sergiy Honchar won a time trial Saturday to become the first Ukrainian to take the race leader's yellow jersey in Tour de France history, and American Floyd Landis placed second in the stage to move into second place overall.

Honchar, a T-Mobile rider and a former world time trial champion, was by far the strongest rider in Saturday's 32-mile race against the clock. He finished more than a minute ahead of Landis. Sebastian Lang of Germany was third.

Honchar finished in 1 hour, 1 minute, 43 seconds. It was his first stage win in three Tours, though he has won five time trials at the Tour of Italy. Landis was 1 minute, 1 second behind Honchar, and Lang was a further 3 seconds back.

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Aside from Landis, a former teammate of seven-time Tour winner Lance Armstrong, it was a disappointing day for other top Americans.

Levi Leipheimer placed 96th, more than 6 minutes behind Honchar. Another former Armstrong teammate, George Hincapie, was 24th, trailing Honchar by 2:42.

And American Bobby Julich crashed, losing control of his bike while negotiating a bend during the long time trial. Julich, who finished third in 1998, was taken to a hospital after hitting the ground hard and slamming into the curb.

Honchar, who turned 36 last week, grabbed the front of the yellow jersey in delight after it was slipped onto his shoulders on the podium. He said it was the best day of his career since he won the world time trial title in 2000.

"It was totally unexpected. I did my maximum," he said through a translator on French television.

The win was the second at this Tour for the T-Mobile squad, which lost its leader Jan Ullrich and another rider to a doping scandal on the eve of the Tour start on July 1.