- Associated Press - Sunday, July 3, 2011

LES ESSARTS, France — After two days of racing at the Tour de France, defending champion Alberto Contador appears to be in trouble.

The three-time Tour winner has already lost a considerable amount of time to rivals and concedes his pre-race favorite status may no longer fit him.

Contador, aiming for his third straight Tour win, said after Sunday’s team time trial, “I might not even be the biggest favorite to win overall anymore.”

The Spaniard is 75th in the overall standings, 1 minute and 42 seconds behind race leader Thor Hushovd.

World champion Hushovd seized the coveted yellow shirt for the third time of his career ahead of teammate David Millar, with whom he shares the same time in the overall standings. Cadel Evans of Australia is third, just a second behind.

Hushovd’s Garmin-Cervelo team finished in 24 minutes, 48 seconds around the 14.3-mile flat stage in Les Essarts in the Vendee region of western France, at an average speed of 34.576 miles per hour.

It was Garmin-Cervelo’s first stage win on the Tour after the American-registered outfit finished second in the 2009 team time trial.

The Garmin-Cervelo team, one of the most powerful in the race against the clock, looked well-drilled from the start and produced an impressive display to win a very close contest as five teams finished within five seconds.

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