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Jul 21 2011

Le Tour- Stage 18

Pinerolo to Galibier Serre-Chevalier 125 miles

Le.  Tour.  De.  France.

The story of yesterday is the group that finished 4:26 back- Frank Schleck, Cunego, Sanchez, Evans, Contador, and Andy Schleck, and the group that finished 4:53 back- Voeckler and Basso.

Contador looked to put on a move in the final descent into Pinerolo and was apparently succeeding when away from the camera and commentary the rest of the major contenders snuck up to be right there at the finish.

Voeckler would have been right there also except that pressing a little too hard he had to take an escape road off into a car park (his second slide off) and lost another 27 Seconds.

A thrilling finish, but not one that shakes up the standings-

Rank Name Team ET delta
1 Thomas Voeckler Europcar 73h 23′ 49″
2 Cadel Evans BMC 73h 25′ 07″ + 01′ 18″
3 Frank Schleck Leopard Trek 73h 25′ 11″ + 01′ 22″
4 Andy Schleck Leopard Trek 73h 26′ 25″ + 02′ 36″
5 Samuel Sanchez Euskaltel 73h 26′ 48″ + 02′ 59″
6 Alberto Contador Saxo Bank 73h 27′ 04″ + 03′ 15″
7 Damiano Cunego Lampre 73h 27′ 23″ + 03′ 34″
8 Ivan Basso Cannondale 73h 27′ 38″ + 03′ 49″
9 Tom Danielson Garmin 73h 29′ 53″ + 06′ 04″
10 Rigoberto Uran Sky 73h 31′ 25″ + 07′ 36″

My analysis is that it’s another missed opportunity for Contador and there aren’t too many of them left- today and tomorrow in the High Mountains and the Individual Time Trial on Saturday.  BruceMcF thinks there could be an attempt by the sprinters to put the Mad Manx out on time elimination.

Today’s Stage has only 3 climbs but they’re all unclassified with the sprint checkpoint before any of the tough hills.  The finish is uphill after the longest climb (but not steepest) of the day so a repeat of yesterday’s bunch finish is unlikely.  This is the centenary of the Galabier on the Tour and the highest finish ever.

Vs. starts it’s coverage at an early (unless you were already up at 5 am to watch the final landing of the Space Shuttle) 7 am so it’s possible we might see the points checkpoint finish.

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