Saturday, July 24, 2010

TDF 2010 Stage 19: Spaniard's Battle to the Finish

Battling wind, and losing seconds against his rival, Alberto Contador gritted his teeth and made up for lost time, beating Andy Schleck by 17 seconds in the time trial, and cinching the title for the 2010 Tour de France.

With 39 seconds overall ahead of his rival, Contador now takes the Yellow Jersey because Tour precedence--and the course in the final 102.5 km stage tomorrow from Longjumeau into Paris-- dictate that the GC riders sip champage in the back and allow the sprinters to take over.

Today's time trial also put a punctuation point on the third place finishers, with Sammy Sanchez in 39th position and losing 2 minutes to Denis Menchov on the course. After today, Menchov is slotted into third position, and a podium placement in Paris.

Fabian Cancellara who won the time trial prologue at the beginning of this year's Tour also won today's time trial, with Tony Martin coming in second, and Bert Grabsch third.

After the equally matched battles we saw taking place between the two top riders, Contador and Schleck over the col du Tourmalet, this was the stage that would finally define the winner of the Tour.

Many expected Contador to dominate the stage, but after Schleck started off and passed his checkpoints, the vast differences between them in this event that we saw in the 2009 Tour had narrowed considerably.

Wind picked up as the event progressed and disabled the riders who left later in the day. For a while it looked like the Luxemburger might beat the Spaniard, and take back the Yellow Jersey.

But Schleck went off before Contador because the winner of last year's Tour, the Spaniard carries the winner's number 1 and is therefore allowed to go last. That gave him an advantage as he could try and better Schleck's time.

At the early time checks, Contador was riding 2 seconds behind Schleck, and at 25 km to go, Schleck was ahead by 1 second. But at the 36.2km mark, Contador was ahead of Schleck by six seconds, and with 15km to go, Radio Tour had reported the Spaniard’s gain at eight seconds. At the 44 km time check, Contador was 17 seconds ahead of Schleck. 

By the time Schleck and Contador had taken off on the 55 km course from Bordeaux to Pauillac, another rider had made the best time, and that was Cancellara with a total time of 1 hour and 56 minutes.

Behind him was Tony Martin (GER) THR who came to the line 17 seconds behiind Cancellara, followed by Bert Grabsch (GER) THR at 1’48”, Ignatas Konovalovas (LTH) CTT was fourth at 2’34” and Dave Zabriskie (USA) GRM at 3’00” was fifth.

At the first time check, Menchov (RAB) was 52” behind Martin and Sanchez (EUS) was at 1’40”.


Schleck's improvement since last year in the time trial means that next year the young man from Luxembourg, who is 3 years younger than the Spaniard, could be poised to win the Tour in 2011. Contador, look out!

Incidentally, Team RadioShack fared pretty well in this year's Tour. Thanks to his performance on the Tourmalet, Chris Horner has moved up into 10th position. Levi Leipheimer is in 13th position, with Andreas Kloden in 14th.

Lance Armstrong who crashed three times in stage 8 from Station des Rousses to Morzine Avoriaz, and who had then fallen to 62nd position at 13 minutes and 26 seconds behind the leader, moved up to 23rd over the final stages of the Tour.

In Stage 17 before Contador and Schleck were battling it out on the Tourmalet, Armstrong was in the lead peloton chase group behind the break, along with the other GC contenders. If he hadn't crashed, would he have been a contender for third on the podium? We'll never know.

For one, the questions swirling about Floyd Landis' allegations that he and the U.S. Postal Team, including Armstrong, illegally used blood transfusions and EPO to boost their performance must have been a very negative distraction for Texan during the Tour. In fact, it was announced Tuesday that Armstrong had hired criminal lawyer Bryan D. Daly, a partner at the firm Sheppard Mullin Richter and Hampton, a man with experience in the field as a formal federal prosecutor based in Los Angeles.

Overall General Classification Standings at the End of Stage 19

1. CONTADOR Alberto 1 ASTANA 89h 16' 27"
2. SCHLECK Andy 11 TEAM SAXO BANK 89h 17' 06" + 00' 39"
3. MENCHOV Denis 191 RABOBANK 89h 18' 28" + 02' 01"
4. SANCHEZ Samuel 181 EUSKALTEL - EUSKADI 89h 20' 07" + 03' 40"
5. VAN DEN BROECK Jurgen 101 OMEGA PHARMA - LOTTO 89h 23' 21" + 06' 54"
6. GESINK Robert 195 RABOBANK 89h 25' 58" + 09' 31"
7. HESJEDAL Ryder 54 GARMIN - TRANSITIONS 89h 26' 42" + 10' 15"
8. RODRIGUEZ OLIVER Joaquin 77 KATUSHA TEAM 89h 28' 04" + 11' 37"
9. KREUZIGER Roman 44 LIQUIGAS-DOIMO 89h 28' 21" + 11' 54"
10. HORNER Christopher 23 TEAM RADIOSHACK 89h 28' 29" + 12' 02"
11. SANCHEZ Luis-Leon 161 CAISSE D’EPARGNE 89h 30' 48" + 14' 21"
12. PLAZA MOLINA Ruben 168 CAISSE D’EPARGNE 89h 30' 56" + 14' 29"
13. LEIPHEIMER Levi 25 TEAM RADIOSHACK 89h 31' 07" + 14' 40"
14. KLÖDEN Andréas 24 TEAM RADIOSHACK 89h 33' 03" + 16' 36"
15. ROCHE Nicolas 81 AG2R LA MONDIALE 89h 33' 26" + 16' 59"
16. VINOKOUROV Alexandre 9 ASTANA 89h 34' 13" + 17' 46"
17. LÖVKVIST Thomas 37 SKY PRO CYCLING 89h 37' 13" + 20' 46"
18. DE WEERT Kevin 133 QUICK STEP 89h 38' 21" + 21' 54"
19. GADRET John 85 AG2R LA MONDIALE 89h 40' 31" + 24' 04"
20. SASTRE Carlos 91 CERVELO TEST TEAM 89h 43' 04" + 26' 37"


Stage Standings at the end of Stage 19 the Time Trial
1. CONTADOR Alberto 1 ASTANA 89h 16' 27"
2. SCHLECK Andy 11 TEAM SAXO BANK 89h 17' 06" + 00' 39"
3. MENCHOV Denis 191 RABOBANK 89h 18' 28" + 02' 01"
4. SANCHEZ Samuel 181 EUSKALTEL - EUSKADI 89h 20' 07" + 03' 40"
5. VAN DEN BROECK Jurgen 101 OMEGA PHARMA - LOTTO 89h 23' 21" + 06' 54"
6. GESINK Robert 195 RABOBANK 89h 25' 58" + 09' 31"
7. HESJEDAL Ryder 54 GARMIN - TRANSITIONS 89h 26' 42" + 10' 15"
8. RODRIGUEZ OLIVER Joaquin 77 KATUSHA TEAM 89h 28' 04" + 11' 37"
9. KREUZIGER Roman 44 LIQUIGAS-DOIMO 89h 28' 21" + 11' 54"
10. HORNER Christopher 23 TEAM RADIOSHACK 89h 28' 29" + 12' 02"
11. SANCHEZ Luis-Leon 161 CAISSE D’EPARGNE 89h 30' 48" + 14' 21"
12. PLAZA MOLINA Ruben 168 CAISSE D’EPARGNE 89h 30' 56" + 14' 29"
13. LEIPHEIMER Levi 25 TEAM RADIOSHACK 89h 31' 07" + 14' 40"
14. KLÖDEN Andréas 24 TEAM RADIOSHACK 89h 33' 03" + 16' 36"
15. ROCHE Nicolas 81 AG2R LA MONDIALE 89h 33' 26" + 16' 59"
16. VINOKOUROV Alexandre 9 ASTANA 89h 34' 13" + 17' 46"
17. LÖVKVIST Thomas 37 SKY PRO CYCLING 89h 37' 13" + 20' 46"
18. DE WEERT Kevin 133 QUICK STEP 89h 38' 21" + 21' 54"
19. GADRET John 85 AG2R LA MONDIALE 89h 40' 31" + 24' 04"
20. SASTRE Carlos 91 CERVELO TEST TEAM 89h 43' 04" + 26' 37"

1 comment:

Available51 said...

Thanks for helping me on the road today when that van hit me and ran me to the ground. I was lucky, no broken bones but lot's of pain. Glad to have met you even under the circumstances.