EPINAL, FRANCE, JULY 7 -- Steve Bauer of Canada clung to the Tour de France lead today with Mexico's Raul Alcala gaining ground by capturing an individual time trial.

Bauer has a 17-second gap over Ronan Pensec of France.

For the stage, Bauer finished in 1 hour 19 minutes 48 seconds for the 38-mile course from from Vittel to Epinal in eastern France.

The late-starting major competitors, including two-time champion Greg LeMond, were slowed by intermittent rain.

The American was favored in the event but finished fifth in 1:19:16, more than two minutes behind Alcala. He gained 32 seconds on Bauer to move into seventh place overall. He stands 10:09 back of the Canadian.

Alcala, more than 10 minutes behind Bauer before the day, put on a show of strength by winning in 1:17:05, more than a minute better than Spain's Miguel Indurain.

Alcala jumped into fifth overall, 7:19 behind Bauer.

Sunday's eighth stage is a 113-mile route from Epinal to Besancon. The riders will begin to approach the mountains, but will not ride through them until Tuesday with the leg to Geneva. Seventh-Stage Results 38-mile time trial from Vittel to Epinal

1, Raul Alcala, PDM, Mexico, 1 hour 17 minutes 5 seconds; 2, Miguel Indurain, Banesto, Spain, 1:24 behind; 3, Gianni Bugno, Chateau D'Ax, Italy, 1:47; 4, Pedro Delgado, Banesto, Spain, 2:05; 5, Greg LeMond, Z, Waysata, Minn., 2:11; 6, Jean-Francois Bernard, Toshiba, France, 2:26; 7, Ronan Pensec, Z, France, 2:26; 8 (tie), Uwe Ampler, PDM, East Germany, and Tony Rominger, Chateau d'Ax, Switzerland, 2:30; 10 (tie), Gerrit Solleveld, Buckler, Netherlands, Claude Criquielion, Lotto, Belgium, and Erik Breukink, PDM, Netherlands, 2:40; 13, Pascal Lance, Toshiba, France, 2:42; 14, Steve Bauer, 7-Eleven, Canada, 2:43; 15, Claudio Chiappucci, Carrera, Italy, 2:49. Other Americans

64, Andy Hampsten, 7-Eleven, Boulder, Colo., 5:22; 99, Ron Kiefel, 7-Eleven, Boulder, 6:34; 122, Bob Roll, 7-Eleven, Santa Fe, N.M., 7:26; 146, Andy Bishop, 7-Eleven, Tucson, 8:25; 167, Norman Alvis, 7-Eleven, Sacramento, Calif., 9:40; 171, Davis Phinney, 7-Eleven, Boulder, 9:56. Overall Standings

1, Bauer, 30:04:49; 2, Pensec, 17 seconds behind; 3, Chiappucci, 1:11; 4, Frans Maassen, Buckler, Netherlands, 1:16; 5, Alcala, 7:19; 6, Solleveld, 7:23; 7, LeMond, 10:09; 8, Ampler, 10:14; 9, Sean Kelly, PDM, Ireland, 10:15; 10, Vintyeslav Ekimov, Panasonic, Soviet Union, 10:26; 11, Breukink, 10:32; 12, Pello Ruiz Cabestany, ONCE, Spain, 10:37; 13, Guido Winterberg, Helvetia, Switzerland, 10:47; 14, Indurain, 11:01; 15, Bugno, 11:24. Other Americans

46, Hampsten, 14:10; 68, Kiefel, 15:47; 107, Phinney, 18:36; 127, Roll, 20:22; 157, Alvis, 22:34; 177, Bishop, 27:03.