HomeNews & FeaturesRoad Cycling2010 Tour de France: Schleck, Contador and Sheep

2010 Tour de France: Schleck, Contador and Sheep

Stage 17 of the 2010 Tour de France turned into a classic duel between Yellow Jersey defender Alberto Contador (Team Astana) and challenger Andy Schleck (Team Saxobank) plus a few sheep. All eyes were on Andy, can he make time on Contador prior to the Stage 19 individual time time.

Andy was aiming to gain as much time on Contador as is possible, Contador is likely to have one to two minutes lead on Andy after the time trial.

The 174 km stage from Pau to the Col du Tourmalet included the two category 1 climbs and the unclassified Col du Tourmalet climb to the finish line. With wet conditions there was an early escape with seven riders. The third placed rider in the GC, Euskatels Samuel Sanchez crashed early on though was brought back to the peloton by his team mates.

The break away riders were caught on the base of the Col du Tourmalet as the Team Astana and Team Saxobank pushed forward. In the ascent, visibility detoriorated and the lead group encountered a herd of sheep who intermingled with the riders though caused no distruption. Andy Schleck attacked 10km to the finish line trailed by Contodor. His strategy was to slowly increase the tempo and though Contador still needed to work hard to stay in tough, Schleck was unable to drop him.

As the crowds became increasing dense towards the finish line, Contador attempted one escape though Schleck was alert and the duo stayed together, exchanging words as Schleck once again took the lead.

As the finish line approached, Contador didn’t challenge, allowing Andy Schleck to take the stage victory, a gesture to make up for an attack on stage 16 in which the Andy Schleck (then in yellow) suffered a mechanical defect and lost enough time for Contador to take yellow. Contador has an 8 second lead on Schleck and the third place GC rider Samuel Sanchez is 3min 32sec behind.

With Contador in yellow, this stage signals a symbolic win in the 2010 Tour de France. Stage 18 is relatively flat and covers 198km from Salies-de-B?arn to Bordeaux – a sprint finish is expected with no challenge on the yellow jersey. Stage 19 is the Individual Time Trial, 52km from Bordeaux to Pauillac in which the yellow jersey lead is expected to be further extended. In the final tour stage, 102.5 km from Longjumeau to the Champs-Élyses in Paris, the yellow jersey position is traditionally uncontested.

In the green jersey classification, Cervélo TestTeam rider Thor Hushovd has a 4 point lead on Alessandro Petachhi (Team Lampre) who is incidentally currently under investigation for doping. Andy Schleck leads the youth classification white jersey lead and BBox rider Anthony Charteau takes the King of the Mountains Polka Dot jersey home in 2010.

The best rank Australian cyclists are Cadel Evans (Team BMC Racing) in 26th position and 45 minutes behind the race leader. Michael Rogers (Team HTC Columbia) holds 37th position and Matthew Lloyd 47th (Team Omega Pharma Lotto). From the other Australian Riders, the withdrawals include Adam Hansen (Team HTC Columbia) in stage 2, Simon Gerrans (Team Sky) in stage 9 and of course Mark Renshaw (Team HTC Columbia) who was disqualified by race officials in stage 11. Robbie McEwen (Team Katusha) is fifth in the green jersey points classification.

Christopher Jones
Christopher Joneshttps://www.bicycles.net.au
Christopher Jones is a recreational cyclist and runs a design agency, Signale. As the driving force behind Bicycles.net.au he has one of each 'types' of bicycles.
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