PLATEAU DE BEILLE, France -- Alberto Contador is clinging to his Tour de France title hopes. Despite the defending champions less-than-dominating form, none of his rivals was able to knock him out of contention while he rode with a sore knee during three gruelling stages in the Pyrenees. Although Andy Schleck padded his advantage over Contador by two seconds during Saturdays 14th stage up to Plateau de Beille, his brother Frank and Australias Cadel Evans did not -- finishing in the same time as the Spaniard behind stage winner Jelle Vanendert of Belgium. Thomas Voeckler retained the overall lead. Although Contador trails Voeckler by four minutes overall, the Frenchman is not considered a contender -- least of all by himself -- and with a flat stage and a rest day coming up, Contadors knee will get time to heal before the race heads into the high Alps on Wednesday for the first of three more intense climbing stages. "I hope I will be feeling even better in the Alps and that I can recover between now and then to get some time back," said Contador, a three-time Tour winner. "I hope to be even better over the next few days." Seventh overall, Contador trails second-placed Andy Schleck by 1:45, Evans by 1:54 and Frank Schleck by 2:11. Canadas Ryder Hesjedal finished 30th on the day to jump up five spots to 32nd overall. The Victoria native, who finished seventh last year, is 23:43 back of Voeckler for the lead. Contador lost most of that time during the first stage, when he was stuck behind a crash and his rivals were in front of the pileup. Contador then fell twice, during the fifth and ninth stages, banging his right knee twice -- once on each side. "My rivals had a faultless start to the Tour de France, whereas I had loads of problems," Contador said. "For many reasons I cant ride how I want to." But the Schlecks and Evans do not seem strong enough to distance themselves, as Saturdays stage again showed. "I think the Tour is open. Nobody really has the legs to make the difference," Contadors Saxo Bank manager Bjarne Riis said. "Im satisfied. I think we saw a better Alberto than in the previous days, and thats a good sign. It gives him morale and motivation for the Alps." Vanendert clinched the first Tour stage win of his career, crossing in five hours 13 minutes 25 seconds to finish 21 seconds ahead of Sanchez and 46 seconds in front of Andy Schleck, who sprinted away from the other overall contenders in the last 400 yards. The 168-kilometre ride from Saint-Gaudens to Plateau de Beille finished with a famed and tortuous ascent lasting nearly 16 km. As the favourites trudged up it, Andy Schleck kept glancing at Contador to see if he was struggling, and launched five unsuccessful attacks to try and drop him. Contador, considered one of the worlds best climbers, prefers to crush his rivals with one prolonged attack. "I dont like this way of racing, its different to mine," Contador said. "But thats the way things are. With these tactics, it will be very difficult for them to win (the Tour)." Frank Schleck defended their tactics, criticizing Contador and Evans for sitting back while others take the initiative. "I thought that if there were going to be attacks it was going to be me and Andy attacking," he said. "But the others are just hugging wheels and looking at each other." Frank Schleck also downplayed Contadors chances of a fourth Tour title. "It doesnt seem like he has the upper hand like he did in other years. Hes beatable," he said. "Its a pity that we couldnt take time out of anybody, but thats how it is, there are still a lot of days to come." Few cycling experts are giving the 32-year-old Voeckler much of a shot at winning cyclings showcase race. Voeckler himself had said before Saturdays stage that he has no chance and that people should not think otherwise. He soon may have to change his tune. Voeckler saw signs up Plateau de Beille that his rivals are perhaps not as strong as he thought. "There was so much wind before the last climb that I said to myself, Stay on the wheels of the favourites and try to follow them," he said. "Finally I saw that they werent so much better than me. I kept on trying and each time they attacked I tried to go. As they were all together the pace was a little slower and I was able to finish with them." Evans crossed the line fourth ahead of Colombias Rigoberto Uran, Contador, Voeckler and Frank Schleck. They all were 48 seconds behind Vanendert, who is riding in his first Tour. Having waited for his moment, Vanendert made his attack with six km left. "The favourites had already attacked several times," Vanendert said. "I thought they might already be on the limit and it was the perfect time to attack." The 15th stage Sunday to Montpellier is a flat route for sprinters. A rest day follows on Monday before the riders head to the Alps. NBA
. -- Oakland Raiders coach Dennis Allen is taking a different approach to the bye week this year. NHL
. Rakell, has played in four games with the Ducks this season, posting no points. The 30th selection of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, had been a scratch for the Ducks last seven games. http://www.ourjerseysonline.com/. -- Isaiah Pead took a stutter step forward, then raced to the left sideline and travelled 60 yards up the field before finally getting tripped up by a leg tackle. MLB
. "I didnt really understand the magnitude of what it meant until that moment: skating out there in front of 19-20,000 people, flags flying everywhere," Nieuwendyk said. "It was a special feeling.(SportsNetwork.com) - Phil Kessel and the first-place Toronto Maple Leafs aim for a third straight win when they visit the Calgary Flames at the Saddledome tonight. You can watch the game on TSN at 7:30pm et/4:30pm pt. The game is also available on TSN Radio 1050 in Toronto. After notching a 4-1 victory over visiting Pittsburgh on Saturday, Toronto began its three-game tour of Western Canada with a 4-0 triumph Tuesday night at Edmonton. James Reimer stopped 43 shots for his first shutout of the season and the Leafs recorded their third victory in four trips to the ice. Phil Kessel posted two goals and two assists, Nazem Kadri had a goal and two assists, while James van Riemsdyk also scored for the Maple Leafs, who are leading the Atlantic Division with 18 points, two more than both Tampa Bay and Montreal. "I cant say enough about (Kessel)," van Riemsdyk said. "He sees the ice really well and has a lot of offensive instincts." Kessel is leading Toronto with nine goals and 18 points this season. The prolific right winger has two goals and three assists over eight career games against Calgary. Jonathan Bernier figures to get the start in net for the Maple Leafs on Wednesday. He is 1-1-0 with a 1.51 goals against average in two career outings versus the Flames. Toronto, which is 4-2-0 as the road club this season, will end its current trek when it visits the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday. The Flames ended a two-game slide and won for just the second time in six outings (2-4-0) when they notched a 5-2 victory over the visiting Washington Capitals on Saturday. Mike Cammalleri scored two goals and had an assist to help the Flames record the easy win over Washington. Calgary scored twice in the first 7:24 oof the game to take a 2-0 lead and held a 3-1 advantage at the end of 20 minutes.dddddddddddd The Capitals cut the deficit to 3-2 in the second, but Cammalleri scored midway through the third period and Curtis Glencross added another tally to account for the final margin. Kris Russell and Jiri Hudler also scored for the Flames and Karri Ramo made 27 saves in the victory. "Kris Russell played very, very well. I thought that he jumped in the play and made some great decisions with the puck defensively," said Flames head coach Bob Hartley. "For a small-sized defenseman it is pretty unbelievable how hes always in the play. He always finds a way to get it done. A very intelligent player." Hartley will have to rely on Russell and other blueliners to make up for the loss of defenseman and team captain Mark Giordano, who will miss his fourth straight game with a broken ankle. On Tuesday, the Flames announced Giordano will be sidelined for 6-to-8 weeks with the injury. Giordano, who succeeded former franchise centerpiece Jarome Iginla as captain, has totaled two goals and seven assists in eight games this season. Forward Lee Stempniak also is considered week-to-week for Calgary with a broken foot. Stempniak has posted four goals and five assists in 10 games this season. Calgary is playing the middle test of a three-game homestand on Wednesday and has yet to lose in regulation on home ice this season, posting a 3-0-1 mark at the Saddledome. The Flames also have dominated Toronto on home ice in recent seasons, taking the last seven encounters in Calgary between the teams. The Maple Leafs last won at the Saddledome on Dec. 27, 2002. Toronto has dropped five of the last six meetings overall in this series. ' ' '