As expected, Saxo Bank took to the hills today to hopefully deliver their GC hopeful Andy Schleck into a podium spot and ride they did. Frank Schleck paced his younger brother, Andy Schleck, up the final climbs shedding all other contenders. With only Alberto Contador able to hang with the pace, the elder Schleck took the stage win and with that put the two Schleck brothers in second and third respectively.



Stage 17 Results
1 Fränk Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank - 4:53:54
2 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Astana
3 Andy Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank
4 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas 0:02:18
5 Lance Armstrong (USA) Astana
6 Andreas Klöden (Ger) Astana 0:02:27
7 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Garmin - Slipstream - 0:03:07
8 Christophe Moreau (Fra) Agritubel - 0:04:09
9 Christian Vande Velde (USA) Garmin - Slipstream
10 Rémi Pauriol (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne - 0:06:10





General classification after stage 17
1 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Astana - 72:27:09
2 Andy Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank - 0:02:26
3 Fränk Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank - 0:03:25
4 Lance Armstrong (USA) Astana - 0:03:55
5 Andreas Klöden (Ger) Astana - 0:04:44
6 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Garmin - Slipstream - 0:04:53
7 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas - 0:05:09
8 Christian Vande Velde (USA) Garmin - Slipstream - 0:08:08
9 Christophe Le Mevel (Fra) Française des Jeux - 0:09:19
10 Mikel Astarloza Chaurreau (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi - 0:10:50


Full results here..



Jersey Standings:
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Alberto Contador
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Thor Hushovd
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Franco Pellizotti
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Andy Schleck

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Links to news sites...

"Daring double act proves Schleck's class
Astana pulls no punches in penultimate mountain fight

The brothers Schleck of Team Saxo Bank had threatened to take the race apart with measured efforts during yesterday's stage and today that moderation went out the window. With it went the status quo in this year's Tour de France. Having won on the famous slopes of Alpe d'Huez during the 2006 Tour, Fränk Schleck added what was arguably the queen stage of this year's edition to his palmares after a superb effort in the heart of the French Alps.

He won that stage three years ago solo, but today he had the company of brother Andy, his faithful companion and working partner in the day's pivotal moments, and Alberto Contador (Astana), their biggest rival for the overall title, who currently leads the race by a solid margin." Read more from CyclingNews...

"Schleck takes TDF stage as Contador stays in yellow
By Justin Davis (AFP)

LE GRAND-BORNAND, France - Luxemburg rider Frank Schleck won the 17th stage of the Tour de France here on Wednesday.

Spain's 2007 Tour de France champion Alberto Contador - who finished second in the stage - retained the overall leader's yellow jersey while Frank's brother Andy was third.

Contador now leads Andy Schleck by 2minutes 26seconds with Frank 3min 25sec adrift and seven-time winner Lance Armstrong dropped out of the podium placings as he lies in fourth 3min 55sec behind his Astana team-mate.

On the third and last day of climbing in the Alps Contador confirmed his status as the undisputed race leader after repelling a series of attacks by the lively Schleck brothers in a thrilling finale to the race." Read more from the AFP...

"Armstrong and Contador 'incompatible' - Astana manager

MADRID - Astana's Belgian manager Johan Bruyneel says there is a "certain incompatibility" between Spanish rider Alberto Contador and Lance Armstrong of the United States even as he minimized the friction between the two team leaders on the Tour de France.

"There was never a 'click' between the two, I don't know why," he said in an interview published in top-selling daily newspaper El Pais, adding however that "there was never as much friction" between the two as was reported.

Relations between Contador and Armstrong, which were tense since the start of the Tour de France, appear to have improved since the Spanish rider took the yellow jersey on Sunday during the first Alpine stage of the race to become the favourite to win the event." Read more from the AFP...

"Frank Schleck takes stage after assisting brother and teammate Andy, while Contador keeps jersey

Saxo Bank's Andy and Frank Schleck climbed their way up in the general classification on stage 17, with only race leader Alberto Contador (Astana) able to follow the Luxembourg riders over the day's final climb and down to the finish. But Astana continued to show its might, with Lance Armstrong and Andreas Klöden riding strongly to finish fifth and sixth on the day and shedding the other GC contenders.

Bradley Wiggins (Garmin-Slipstream) rode with the select Armstrong group towards the end, but lost the wheel on the final climb up the Col de la Colombiere to finish 3:10 down." Read more from VeloNews.com...