(Reuters) – Andy Schleck left three-times champion Alberto Contador floundering in the thin mountain air as he outwitted, outpaced and outclassed his Tour de France rivals with an inspired climb to win the 18th stage on Thursday.
Stage 18 Results
1. Andy Schleck Leopard Trek – 6:07:56
2. Fränk Schleck Leopard Trek – 0:02:07
3. Cadel Evans BMC Racing Team – 0:02:15
4. Ivan Basso Liquigas-Cannondale – 0:02:18
5. Thomas Voeckler Team Europcar – 0:02:21
6. Pierre Rolland Team Europcar – 0:02:27
7. Damiano Cunego Lampre – ISD – 0:02:33
8. Rein Taaramae Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne – 0:03:22
9. Thomas Danielson Team Garmin-Cervelo – 0:03:25
10. Ryder Hesjedal Team Garmin-Cervelo – 0:03:31
General classification after Stage 18
1. Thomas Voeckler Team Europcar – 79:34:06
2. Andy Schleck Leopard Trek – 0:00:15
3. Fränk Schleck Leopard Trek – 0:01:08
4. Cadel Evans BMC Racing Team – 0:01:12
5. Damiano Cunego Lampre – ISD – 0:03:46
6. Ivan Basso Liquigas-Cannondale
7. Alberto Contador Velasco Saxo Bank Sungard – 0:04:44
8. Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez Euskaltel-Euskadi – 0:05:20
9. Thomas Danielson Team Garmin-Cervelo – 0:07:08
10. Jean-Christophe Peraud AG2R La Mondiale – 0:09:27
Links to news sites…
“Evans mystified as Schleck rides to epic stage win
By Justin Davis (AFP)
COL DU GALIBIER, France — Australia’s Cadel Evans was left mystified after yellow jersey rival Andy Schleck capped an audacious attack with victory on the epic 18th stage Thursday.
Schleck, the runner-up the past two years, surprised all the favourites when he launched an attack halfway up the Col d’Izoard, with over 60 km still to race.
After building his own lead on the peloton, the Leopard-Trek rider eventually caught up with the last remnants of an early breakaway and went on to take his lead to over four minutes.
Despite Evans’ 40-strong group chasing hard on the descent and in the wind-hit valley leading to the foot of the final, 22.8 km climb of the Galibier, their deficit refused to budge.
Evans said he had trouble understanding how Schleck and three other riders defied 40 desperate chasers.
“Just on a numbers basics, 20-30k block headwind, up a valley — we are 40 (in the group) with one to nine guys riding at the front, and they are four riding at the front,” said the Australian.” Read more from AFP…
“Andy Schleck wins on Galibier to revive Tour hopes
(CNN) — Luxembourg’s Andy Schleck dramatically revived his Tour de France hopes with a stunning victory on an epic 18th stage which finished at the summit of the imposing Col du Galibier.
At 2,645 meters, it was the highest-ever stage finish on the Tour, and Leopard Trek’s Schleck certainly hit the heights with a brave solo victory.
He broke clear of a group of favorites on the Col d’lzoard with 60km remaining, reeling in the fragmented remains of a breakaway, before crossing the line alone over two minutes clear of his chasers.
Schleck, written off after muted performances in the Pyrenees and the first stage in the Alps, said he had decided to take his courage in his hands.” Read more from CNN International…
Photos by CorVos