Friday, July 22, 2011

Battle In The Alps

photo by Roberto Bettini
Cadal Evans pulling
photo by Sirotti
Andy attacks!
photo by Roberto Bettini
If you enjoyed yesterday's stage to the top of the Galibier, expect more fireworks on tonight's stage to the Alpe d'Huez.

Andy Schleck rode to a big win last night on Stage 18 of the Tour De France, attacking on the next to last climb of the day with 60 km still to ride and then hung on for the win. Cadel Evans did most of the work in the last 10km pulling along with him Ivan Basso, Thomas Voeckler, Frank Schleck etc. Alberto Contador who showed much aggression (and descended like a demon) in the last two days was dropped in the last kilometer.

Voeckler battled hard hung to to the yellow jersey by a scant 15 seconds at the top of the Galibier, (reminiscent of way back in 2004 when as a newcomer, he rode to the yellow jersey, held it for ten stages and held a 22 second lead over Lance Armstrong before losing on the top of the Alpe d'Huez). Tonight, he will face yet another big battle to hang on the the malliot jaune.

Andy Schlek is now second overall, with his brother Frank third, 1:08 min behind Vockler, with Evans fourth 1:12 back. Frank had a relatively easy day yesterday and we may see him ride well tonight to gain time as Evans will probably the best amongst them against the clock in the long time trial still to come tomorrow in the penultimate stage.

Will we see Contador explode tonight? He is currently 4:44 down, back in seventh and tonight will be his last chance to regain some time bearing in mind he is normally a much better time triallist than all of the other riders including Evans.

All will be made clearer after tonight's climb to the top of cycling's most famous climb- Alpe d'Huez.

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