Tour de France – Stage 20 – Cadel, yellow into Paris

Cadel Evans has absolutely crushed the final TT and takes yellow into the final stage of the Tour de France. Barring some freak disaster, he will win the 2011 Tour de France and become the first rider from the Southern Hemisphere to stand on the top step of the podium in Paris.

In a time trial which many seemed to think favored Evans the big question was can Cadel make up 57 seconds on Andy Schleck? Many said no, other said yes but only barely. I feel like I went out on a limb and predicted in yesterday’s TT preview that Cadel would make up about 1’22” based on recent history. I don’t think anyone would have guessed he would take over 2 minutes and 30 seconds out of the young Luxembourger.

Stage 20 Top Three
1. Tony Martin (HTC)______________55’33”
2. Cadel Evans (BMC)______________55’40”
3. Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank)___56’39”

Andy Schleck (Leopard)____________58’11”

Tony martin won stage 20 with a stellar time beating Fabian Cancellara, the world’s best time trialer, by over 1 minute as the up and down stage likely didn’t suit Cance to a tee. For Martin it’s the first time, I believe, that he’s beaten Fabian and a sign that maybe, just maybe, this won’t be a one-man competition in the future.

The onyl jersey left to sort out is the green jersey as tomorrow’s stage ends with the crit circuit on the Champs-Elysees. Mark Cavendish holds a 15 point advantage over J.J. Rojas going into the stage and although theorectically, Rojas could take the Green jersey with success in the two remaining sprints, it’s highly unlikely it will happen. In fact, I’d be surprised if Cavendish doesn’t win the stage.

Samuel Sanchez rides into Paris climbing up to 6th in the overall and wearing the polka dot jersey after a strong time trial today. With a win and two second place finishes on three of the four biggest mountain stages it’s hard to argue that he doesn’t deserve this prize.

Lastly, Pierre Roland looks to be the future for French cycling as he takes the white jersey into Paris. Roland, who won yesterday’s Alpe D’Huez stage was a excellent domestique for Thomas Voeckler all throughout the race and caps off an incredible Tour de France for Europcar.

What a race. This year’s Tour de France may have been the best I’ve seen… perhaps ever, and certainly was up there with 2003 in terms of drama and intrigue, and , there is still one more day tomorrow. 3….2….1…. Chapeau!

General Classification Top Ten after Stage 20
1. Cadel Evans (BMC)_______________83h45’20”
2. Andy Schleck (Leopard)___________+1’34”
3. Frank Schleck (Leopard)__________+2’30”
4. Thomas Voeckler (Europcar)_______+3’20”
5. Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank)______+3’57”
6. Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel)________+4’55”
7. Damiano Cunego (Lampre)_________+6’05”
8. Ivan Basso (Liquigas)_____________+7’23”
9. Tom Danielson (Garmin)____________+8’15”
10. J.C. Peraud (AG2R)______________+10’11”

Complete Overall results: Le Tour

Green Jersey (points) Top Three after Stage 20
1. Mark Cavendish (HTC)______(300)
2. J.J. Rojas (Movistar)_______(285)
3. Philippe Gilbert (Lotto)______(250)

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