Tour de France 4: Stefan Schumacher wins time trial, takes yellow

German blazes favourites to take race lead

Germany's Stefan Schumacher of the Gerolsteiner team stunned the big time trial favourites to win the Tour de France fourth stage and pull on the leader's yellow jersey Tuesday.

Schumacher clocked a winning time of 35 minutes, 44 seconds over the windy, rolling 29.5km course, leaving many of the specialists scratching their heads.

The German leads Kirchen and Millar by 12 seconds in the overall standings after his first stage win on the Tour.

Switzerland's Fabian Cancellara, the reigning world time trial champion over the longer distance of 55km, could only finish in fifth place, 33 seconds adrift, on what was a crucial stage for the yellow jersey favourites.

Scotland's David Millar finished a close third, behind Luxembourg's Kim Kirchen, 18 seconds behind Schumacher.

The big winners of the day in that race was Australia's yellow jersey favourite Cadel Evans, who finished fourth behind Millar and 27 seconds off the pace, and Kirchen, who is considered an outside bet for overall victory in Paris on July 27.

Schumacher's presence here has caused something of a controversy because he has been allowed to race by organisers despite testing positive for amphetamines in a control undertaken by police while he was not competing.

Winner of last year's Amstel Gold Race, he won two stages of the Giro d'Italia and wore the leader's pink jersey in 2006.

For a complete report with photos, visit Cyclingnews.com. Click here for a video highlight of Stage 4.

© BikeRadar & AFP 2008

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