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Ryder Hesjedal finished 23rd in Tuesday's ninth stage of the Tour de France. ((Bas Czerwinski/Associated Press))

Andy Schleck of Luxembourg captured the overall lead at the Tour de France on Tuesday at the end of a mountainous ninth stage won by French rider Sandy Casar.

Schleck took the yellow jersey from Australia's Cadel Evans, who only wore it for one day, after finishing seventh in the stage, two seconds behind Casar and alongside two-time Tour winner Alberto Contador.

Evans was dropped on the fabled Madeleine pass and lost more than eight minutes on Schleck and Contador.

Ryder Hesjedal of Victoria, B.C., finished 23rd, almost five minutes behind Casar, to fall out of the overall top 10.

Hesjedal sits 12th, 33 seconds behind 10th-place Ivan Basso.

Seven-time champion Lance Armstrong fared relatively well as many other riders dropped off the title contenders on the Madeleine — one of the toughest climbs in cycling. The U.S. rider finished 18th, 2:50 behind Casar.

Casar led a sprint among seven breakaway riders at the finish of the 204-kilometre trek from Morzine to Saint-Jean-La-Maurienne — the second and final day in the Alps containing three tough climbs.

'It's pure happiness'

The Francaise des Jeux rider collected his third career stage win at the Tour, blazing ahead of Luis-Leon Sanchez in second and Damiano Cunego in third — all three riders clocking five hours, 38 minutes and 10 seconds.

"It's pure happiness," the 31-year-old Casar said. "I wanted it so much it couldn't have happened any other way."

Contador and Schleck trailed just behind Casar, setting the stage for a two-man fight for the title. Schleck leads his Spanish rival by 41 seconds, while Sanchez moved to third and trails the leader by 2:45.

Evans finished 8:09 back from Casar, in 42nd place. The two-time Tour runner-up broke down after the finish, burying his head in the hug of a BMC Racing teammate and sobbing.