SAINT-AMAND-MONTROND, France - On a contrasting day for British riders at the Tour de France, Mark Cavendish moved up the list of sprint greats while Chris Froome lost a large chunk of his overall lead to his main rival. Cavendish sealed his 25th stage win to move into a tie for third place on the Tours all-time list, during an eventful day in which Froome gave up more than one minute to two-time former champion Alberto Contador. To make things more worrisome for Froome, he once again had to fend for himself at the end because none of his withering Sky teammates could keep the pace. This is the second stage so far that they have been unable to support him, and with a tough mountain trek looming on Sunday rivals may try to take advantage. Dutchman Bauke Mollema is 2 minutes, 28 seconds behind Froome, and Contador is 2:45 back — having both gained 1:09 on the leader. "Im just happy Ive got an advantage of more than two minutes," Froome said. Sky is down to seven riders — Edvald Boasson Hagen fractured his shoulder on Thursday and Vasili Kiryienka was disqualified earlier in the race for missing a time cut. Also, Brit Geraint Thomas is riding with a fractured pelvis. "(Edvalds) a huge part of the team and we could really have done with him today and the same with Vasili," Froome said. "Theyre both really strong engines and the team is definitely weakened without those guys." Contador, the Tour champion in 2007 and 09 who was stripped of his title the following year for doping, is now looking like a serious contender again after struggling in the Pyrenees. Froome knows that Sundays massive climb up to Mont Ventoux could have a major bearing on the race. "I think there will be more time won and lost on a stage like Ventoux than the last 20 (kilometres) on this stage," he said. Contadors late attack Friday was timed to perfection and caught Froome cold. "Near the end we saw that many riders were at their limit," Contador said. "There were a lot of people barely hanging on, and we couldnt have asked for a better result." Cavendish, meanwhile, was preparing to "have some Champagne" after moving even with Frenchman Andre Leducq on the all-time list of stage winners. "My team did an incredible job," Cavendish said. "They rode themselves into the ground." His relief was clear to see as he rushed into the arms of teammate Sylvain Chavanel after the stage. On Thursday his teammates had put him into a great position to attack but he was beaten to the line by Marcel Kittel of Germany. "Yesterday they gave everything and I let them down," Cavendish said. "The Tour de France is the most incredible race in the world. It means so much to me. When I think about it, it makes me want to cry." Flat stages are normally relatively free of incident, but the 173-kilometre (107.5-mile) trek from Tours, which is surrounded by the Loire river, to Saint-Amand-Montrond in central France was quite the opposite. With about a third of the stage gone, the main pack split into three and Alejandro Valverde dropped way out of contention after stopping to repair a puncture. None of the teams ahead waited and he lost a huge amount of time, dropping down from second overnight to 16th. "Thats a really unfortunate position for Valverde," Froome said. Contador bounced back after being battered by Froome in the Pyrenees last weekend and losing more time in Wednesdays time trial. "I only can say thanks, thanks and thanks to my whole team," the Spaniard tweeted. "Proud of all of you." Victorias Ryder Hesjedal remained the top Canadian in the overall classification in 54th place, 48:49 behind Froome. Quebec Citys David Veilleux was 135th overall while Svein Tuft of Langley, B.C., was 180th. The peloton had splintered after an attack from Cavendishs Omega Pharma QuickStep team, with Tony Martin leading the charge. Thankfully for Froome he did enough to stay with the small group forming at the front as it pulled away from the two groups behind. The reason for Omegas attack was to try and shake off Kittel — who has won three sprint stages so far — and it worked to perfection. "We just felt the wind wasnt in the right position," Cavendish said. "So we decided to ride harder, to make the peloton more tired and finally it broke." Belkin showed no mercy, profiting from Valverdes mishap to push Mollema and countryman Laurens Ten Dam, who is now fifth, up the overall standings. "I just hope that no team would do that to me if I had a mechanical problem," Froome said. Belkin pushed so hard that Richie Porte, Froomes strongest teammate, had to drop back. If Froome is left all alone on Mont Ventoux, his lead could be further shredded. 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In a Carolina blue uniform Leaths time has indeed arrived; the redshirt sophomore is the espnW volleyball player of the week after a monster performance on Sunday at Florida State.Behind a career-high 26 kills from Leath, the Tar Heels (21-3) rallied from an 0-2 deficit on the road against the Seminoles to take over sole possession of first place in the ACC and rise to No. 8 in the American Volleyball Coaches Association poll. The 26 kills were the most by any North Carolina player since 2005, and along with 13 digs, make eight career double-doubles for Leath. Perhaps more impressively, three of those have come in Tar Heels victories over top-10 opponents this season.The bigger the opponent, the bigger Taylor plays, North Carolina coach Joe Sagula said.Leath also became the programs first AVCA Player of the Week for leading the Tar Heels to their first win in Tallahassee since 2008 and first sweep in the series in 16 years.We were down 2-0, but our team has been through so much in terms of not being in the best situation so many times. Weve come from being down, so I think weve learned to lay it all out, said Leath, who hit .360 in the match. In the first two sets, it wasnt that we werent playing that hard. We just werent playing smart. We just had to settle down.With FSU up 13-10 in the fifth, Carolina went into its blue zone mode, similar to red zone play calling in the NFL. After a timeout, Leath recorded three of the final five points, including consecutive kills, for a 15-13 victory, setting off a raucous celebration.Even with all the momentum shifts, Leath insists she never doubted the outcome.I knew we could make the plays we needed to make, she said. We were all very connected. You get concerned when things are going wrong and everyones on their own island and ffeels isolated.ddddddddddddI never had that feeling, so I never worried. We were never really shook up. We held our composure for the whole match.Leath also played a clean game in Fridays four-set road win over Miami, adding nine kills with just one error to go with eight digs and two aces.Born in Alabama, Leath was in fourth grade when the family moved to Port Matilda, about 20 minutes from Penn States campus. Tall for her age, she tried basketball until she settled in the volleyball-crazed area, and thought Why not?Before she knew it, she was good enough to be on a top club team (Synergy), but she also was a regular ball girl, too, for Nittany Lions games, watching national championship teams with a mop in her hands.I loved Megan Hodge, she said. I loved to watch how dominant she was and how she really didnt care, how she went up for swings with confidence in her ability and training. I always wanted to strive to have that when I was older.As much as Leath loved Penn State games, she didnt see herself a Nittany Lion. The town was small; she wanted to go far. At Penn State, she saw herself filling a spot; as a Tar Heel shes hoping to lead the program to a place its never been, one of the reasons why the 3-2 victory at Penn State on Aug. 27, North Carolinas first at University Hall, was both surreal and satisfying.It was really humbling to play in U-Hall, said Leath, named to the Penn State Classic all-tournament team.An ACL tear in high school forced Leath to redshirt her first season at North Carolina, and last year she started slowly as a three-rotation player. Shes made a huge leap this season, playing all six rotations, using her 6-foot-3 length and physical presence to be a force at the net.Her worth ethic doesnt escape Sagula, who notices shes often among the stragglers leaving practice.A lot of times, as Taylor goes, this team goes, and weve come to rely on that, he said. She has this innate ability to step up for us in big games; its almost like you have to put a ranking in front of a team to get her to play like she did [Sunday]. 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