Alberto Contador wanted the stage win, after his ambitions for the overall evaporated yesterday. Samuel Sanchez wanted the Polka Dot jersey. Pierre Roland wanted to give Europcar something on the day that Voeckler would lose the yellow jersey. All that added to the day that the Schlecks and Evans would go head-to-head for the advantage going into the final time trial. What an Alpe d’Huez!
Pierre Roland, the hard-working domestic from Europcar attacked at the base of Alpe D’huez and was caught by Canadian Ryder Hesjedal but he didn’t give up there. After trying to stick with Alberto Contador, Roland was dropped only to latch onto Samuel Sanchez who attacked from the group of favorites. Roland then sat on Sammy’s wheel for the free ride up to Contador as Sanchez pegged back Alberto. Once the trio joined together, the well-rested Roland attacked the two Spaniards, who after battling the entire Tour just had nothing left and Roland took the win! Samuel will definately take the consolation prize as Alpe D’Huez awarded 40 pts to the winner vs the normal 20 pts and Sanchez with the 32 pts for second place wins the Polka Dot jersey with 108pts, 10 pts more than Andy Schleck.
Stage 19 Top Ten
1. Pierre Roland (Europcar)_________3h13’25”
2. Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel)_______+14″
3. Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank)_____+23″
4. Peter Velits (HTC)_______________+57″
5. Cadel Evans (BMC)
6. Thomas De Gendt (VacanSoleil)
7. Damiano Cunego (Lampre)
8. Frank Schleck (Leopard)
9. Andy Schleck (Leopard)
10. Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin)_________+1’15”
15. Ivan Basso (Liquigas)___________ +2’07
20. Thomas Voeckler (Europcar)______ +3’12”
Complete Stage results: Le Tour
Can we talk for a second about how good of a guy Samuel Sanchez is? If I pulled someone up a mountain I certainly may not be the first rider to go over and congratulate him. But Sammy? That’s him. Immediately over to Roland to shake his hand and give him a hug. Crazy. Samuel, you’re a better man than I.
The stage started with an explosive attack by Contador who went for glory on the Galibier with Andy Schleck with him. Voeckler tried to answer and looked to be in incredible difficulty as he dropped back to the Evans group which was chasing hard. Voecker then got dropped by them and was on the verge of complete meltdown, yelling, screaming and throwing water bottles. And although we saw an amazing display of descending by Sanchez, they all came back together for the Alpe.
Maybe there should be more 109km stages, cause this one was a furious battle. In a Tour de France with nearly every possible drama, this tour keeps adding on. And now, with only 57 seconds between Cadel Evans and Andy Schleck, will there be even more drama and heartbreak in tomorrow’s Tour deciding Time Trial? You bet there will.
General Classification Top Ten after Stage 19
1. Andy Schleck (Leopard)____________82h48’43”
2. Frank Schleck (Leopard)__________+53″
3. Cadel Evans (BMC)_______________+57″
4. Thomas Voeckler (Europcar)_______2’10”
5. Damiano Cunego (Lampre)_________+3’31”
6. Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank)______+3’55”
7. Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel)________+4’22”
8. Ivan Basso (Liquigas)_____________+4’40”
9. Tom Danielson (Garmin)____________+7’11”
10. Pierre Roland (Europcar)_________+8’57”
Complete Overall results: Le Tour
Green Jersey (points) Top Three after Stage 19
1. Mark Cavendish (HTC)______(320)
2. J.J. Rojas (Movistar)_______(285)
3. Philippe Gilbert (Lotto)______(250)