Bennati captures Stage 17 of Tour de France

Jul 26, 2007 - 3:50 PM CASTELSARRASIN, France (Ticker) -- Italy's Daniele Bennati brushed aside the Tour de France's drug scandal to win stage 17 from Pau to Castelsarrasin on Thursday.

The Lampre team sprinter cruised over the finishing line after an extensive game of cat-and-mouse with trio Jens Voigt, Martin Elmiger and Markus Fothen, who were part of a decisive breakaway just eight miles into the race.

Those four riders had featured in an eight-man breakaway and then pulled clear of their fellow escapees. No one wore the coveted yellow jersey during stage 17 due to Michael Rasmussen's exclusion from the Tour by his Rabobank team on Wednesday.

Spain's Alberto Contador was presented with the leader's jersey after Thursday's stage as he maintained his 1 minute, 53-second lead over Australia's Cadel Evans with just three days remaining.

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