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98th Tour de France - Stage 18 Live Part 3
 
By Staff
Date: 7/21/2011
98th Tour de France - Stage 18 Live Part 3
 

98th Tour de France - Stages 18 Live Part 3
On the Galibier - Two leaders, Andy Schleck and Maxim Iglinski  lead by over 3 minutes -  Evans on the attack but gets no help

Jersey Leaders Stage 18
Maillot Jaune: Thomas Voeckler Europcar
Maillot Vert: Mark Cavendish HTC-Highroad
KOM: Jelle Vanendert Omega Pharma Lotto
Maillot Blanc: Rigoberto Uran Team SKY
Team: Garmin-Cervélo
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Stage 18: Pinerolo - Galibier Serre Chevalier 200.5 km
 Evans attacks, but it is closed down by Rolland with Voeckler and Basso right behind

8.9km to go Samuel Sanchez has lost contact with yellow jersey group. Andy still has Iglinsky with him; but Roche has blown out the back.

Now Schleck and Iglinsky turn right on to the last big part of the climb. They are already at 2,059 meters elevation (over a mile high)  with 600 meters to still gain. Schleck has dropped Iglinsky - chapeau Iglinsky.


Stage 18 Profile © 2011 tour de France-ASO

Samuel Sanchez has lost contact with yellow jersey group.

Evans is driving the train - but hasn't managed to break up the chasing group - Schleck's lead has dropped to 3:30 as the yellow jersey group has now turned onto the last section of the climb.

7.0 km to go -  Schleck is still looking strong; but who knows what is going on inside. His face is etched with effort.

 Evans efforts are finally having an effect on the group. Voeckler is still in there with Basso, Contador is moving up.

6 km to go - Voeckler is doing an amazing ride - oh and the smelly red devil makes an appearance! The Sanchez group is 13 seconds down.

 

Evans has whittled down the group to nine men - including Voeckler, Frank S, Basso, Contador - Rein Taaramae, who is riding into the maillot blanc.

5 km to go  Andy Schleck - 3:14 ahead - still virtual race leader. Masses of fans running alongside Schleck - it would only take one to misstep...

 Tom Danielson goes out the back - Eddy Merckx makes an appearance standing up and peering out of the top of the Race Director's car. It must take him back with a flood of memories of races past.


relentless drive by Cadel Evans leads Voeckler, Rolland, Basso, Cunego and Frank Schleck on the Fan lined Galibier. Photo © 2011  Fotoreporter Sirotti

 4.3 km to go - Gap 3:12 Evans still setting the pace, Contador at the back of the group, Rein Taaramae out the back as weell, but way head of maillot blanc Uran and a candidate to take the lead in the young rider's classification. Vanendert suffers and goes out the back...


Marco Pantani Fans on the Galibier. The banner reads "Pantani Forever"  Photo © 2011  Fotoreporter Sirotti

 The gap is 3:11 Voeckler will be out to retain his Yellow Jersey for sure.

3 km to go for Andy Schleck - still going strong. The gap 3:08!

 2.2 km to go - Nobody seems capable of attacking - maybe that's the problem...  They just don't have it or they've left it too late  Evans continues to lead the chase with six riders on his wheel.

Contador has blown! Now digging deep, out of the saddle and rides back into contact, but immediately slips off the back again. The gap is massive suddenly. Is this is the moment that Contador gives up on the Tour de France?

1km to go for Schleck. Voeckler has a chance here as the lead drops to 2:57 -  thanks to Evans magnificent work.

 Schleck is within a few hundred metres, the gap is 2:40 Andy has finally started to suffer - 150m to go - He will win, but the jersey? over six hours in the saddle

Andy Shleck wins!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Victory Andy Schleck!  Photo © 2011  Fotoreporter Sirotti

Waiting for the others - the gap is? So close. Evans continues to drive, Voeckler is out of the saddle, still in touch! Contador is out of the saddle chasing trying to stop the bleeding.

They approach the line , 100m to go - Frank blows around Evans heading for the line to take second... the wheel sucker ought to have given  it to Evans, he did nothing to deserve the second place.  The Schleck brothers have finished first and second; Cadel Evans third.

Tommy Voeckler guts himself in the final kilometer gritting his teeth, fighting the thin air and gravity he finishes, the gap is 2:21! Th eFrench rider is till in yellow! What a stunning effort - there is nothing left in the Frenchman's body.

Rein Taaramae crosses the line, but Pierre Rolland comes around and pips him for 6th.  Finally Contador comes in - a rare sight the Spaniard looks fried from his effort.

Tommy Voeckler holds onto yellow with 15 seconds to spare!

Top 20 results below Complete Stage 18 results here, and complete General Classification here.

In the other jerseys... Estonian, Rein Taaramae of Cofidis has moved into the white jersey of the Best Young Rider, with a 33 second lead on Europcar's Pierre Rolland who was key to supporting Thomas Voeckler in the defense of the yellow jersey today. Rigoberto Uran suffered a set back due to his crash losing 3 minutes in the race inside the race, th eColombian slipped to third.

Jelle Vanendert continues in the polka dot jersey of best climber still 2 points ahead of Sammy Sanchez, but Andy Schleck is only 4 points back in third... this could very well change on tomorrow's final climbing stage.

Mark Cavendish still in green finished 96th today in the grupetto at 35:40... somehow he mystically lost 20 points overnight? go figure... but he still has a 15 point lead on Jose Joaquin Rojas of Movistar and 70 on Belgian champion Philippe Gilbert.

The Garmin-Cervélo team won the day with 3 riders in the top 12: Tom Danielson, Ryder Hesjedal and Christian Vandevelde. Vaughters team also retained their Team G.C. lead over Ag2r La Mondiale and Leopard-Trek who fill out the team classification podium.

Thanks for joining Mark Sharon and me (Vaughn Trevi) for the live ticker of the 18th stage as we count down the final 4 stages to Paris. One more stage for the final showdown in the Alps, and its a doozy. So in the Queen's Stage we're back to the Galibier and a summit finish on the formidable Alpe d'Huez.


Stage 19 Profile © 2011 tour de France-ASO

We'll see if Tommy Voeckler has anything left in his legs for this grueling stage and how strong the resistance will be by the Brothers Schleck. How much will Andy pay for his long attack.. How strong is Cadel after leading the chase..  can he stay close enought to win the tour in the time trial?... along with questions like:

Can Contador return? Will Ivan Basso actually challenge for the yellow jersey or will he hug wheels all day  on the final day in the Alps? and most of all... how much does Thomas Voeckler have in the tank, will the yellow jersey inspire him against all the odds, to please all of France? 
Read Giles Belbin's detailed preview of Stage 20 here.

Stage 18 Results
Pinerolo - Galibier Serre Chevalier

200.5km - 6:07:56 -32.1 km/h
1. Andy Schleck (Luxembourg) Leopard-Trek   - 6:07:56
2. Fränk Schleck (Luxembourg) Leopard-Trek  - 2:07
3. Cadel Evans (Australia) BMC Racing Team  - 2:15

4. Ivan Basso (Italy) Liquigas Cannondale - 2:18
5. Thomas Voeckler
(France) Europcar - 2:21
6. Pierre Rolland (France) Europcar - 2:27
7. Damiano Cunego (Italy) Lampre-ISD - 2:33
8. Rein Taaramae (Estonia) Cofidis  - 3:22
9. Tom Danielson (USA) Garmin-Cervélo  - 3:25
10. Ryder Hesjedal (Canada) Garmin-Cervélo - 3:31
11. Maxim Iglinskiy (Kazakhstan) Astana - 3:35
12. Christian Vande Velde (USA) GRM - 3:38
13. Haimar Zubeldia (Spain) RadioShack - 3:44
14. Jelle Vanendert (Belgium)  Omega Pharma-Lotto  - 3:50
15. Alberto Contador  (Spain) Saxo Bank-SunGard - 3:50

General Classification After Stage 18
1. Thomas Voeckler (France) Europcar
2. Andy Schleck (Luxembourg) Leopard-Trek  - 0:15
3. Frank Schleck (Luxembourg) Leopard-Trek  - 1:08
4. Cadel Evans (Australia) BMC Racing Team - 1:12
5. Damiano Cunego (Italy) Lampre-ISD - 3:46

6. Ivan Basso (Italy) Liquigas Cannondale  - 3:46
7. Alberto Contador (Spain) Saxo Bank-SunGard  - 4:44
8. Samuel Sanchez (Spain) Euskaltel-Euskadi  - 5:209.
Tom Danielson (USA) Garmin-Cervélo  - 7:08
10. Jean-Christophe Peraud (France) Ag3r La Mondiale  - 9:27

Photos fromm the days racing to come.

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