Stefan Schumacher, the Gerolsteiner rider who had been in the lead for two days, fell out of first place on Thursday when he crashed to the ground less than one kilometer from the end of a steep climb to this ski resort in the Massif Central.
After the stage, Schumacher put the blame for his fall on Kim Kirchen of Team Columbia. Though Kirchen finished the stage in fifth place, four seconds behind Riccardo Ricco, the stage winner, Kirchen took over the race lead and the yellow jersey.
Kirchen acknowledged that he had applied his brakes briefly on the final climb. At the time, just after a group of about 30 riders passed under the red flag that marks the final kilometer of the race course, other riders had moved in front of him on the right side of the course, Kirchen said, causing him to have to slow down.
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New York Times