Tour de France – Stage 18 – Completely Unexpected

The Tour de France just got flipped on it’s head. The above image is going to be burned into the history books of the Tour as Andy has dominated on the highest climb in the history of the event. There were a lot of people criticizing the Schlecks, myself included, and today they made me and many others eat our words. Andy attacked on the climb up Izoard dropping all the favorites with teammates up the road. Going into the base of Galibier Andy had built up a lead of nearly four and a half minutes and would hold on to win the most memorable stage in years.

Who finished second? Frank! He was able to hang on to Cadel Evans, who took up the chase from the bottom of Galibier as he had no help. Who cracked? Alberto Contador and Sammy Sanchez. They both looked exhausted when the climb really got into the highest points with Contador losing 3’50” and falling to 7th and Sanchez losing 4’42” falling to 8th. Thomas Voeckler still gutted out a performance not unlike in 2004 as he hung on to yellow by only 15 seconds today. The Italians Basso and Cunego were able to hold on to Evans and ramped up the standings. Tomorrow is another massive day with everyone looking in tatters. Can Evans hang on? Will Frank attack at the base of Alpe d’Huez?

Stage 18 Top Five
1. Andy Schleck (Leopard)_________6h07’56”
2. Frank Schleck (Leopard)________+2’07”
3. Cadel Evans (BMC)____________+2’15”
4. Ivan Basso (Liquigas)__________+2’18”
5. Thomas Voeckler (Europcar)____+2’21”
6. Pierre Roland (Europcar)_______+2’27”
7. Damiano Cunego (Lampre)_____+2’33”
8. Rein Taramee (Cofidis)_________+3’22”
9. Tom Danielson (Garmin)________+3’25”
10. Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin)_______+3’31”

Complete Stage results: Le Tour

General Classification Top Three after Stage 18
1. Thomas Voeckler (Europcar)_______79h34’06”
2. Andy Schleck (Leopard)____________+15″
3. Frank Schleck (Leopard)__________+1’08”
4. Cadel Evans (BMC)_______________+1’12”
5. Damiano Cunego (Lampre)_________+3’46”
6. Ivan Basso (Liquigas)_____________+3’46”
7. Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank)______+4’44”
8. Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel)________+5’20”
9. Tom Danielson (Garmin)____________+7’08”
10. J.C. Peraud (AG2R)______________+9’27”

Complete Overall results: Le Tour

Green Jersey (points) Top Three after Stage 18
1. Mark Cavendish (HTC)______(320)
2. J.J. Rojas (Movistar)_______(285)
3. Philippe Gilbert (Lotto)______(250)

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