Stage 9 Served Up A Real Bike Race

Posted: July 13, 2010 in It's All Important Stuff

Cadel Evans was spectacular today – spectacular in the way he exploded on the hors catégorie Col de la Madeleine.  As the reigning World Champion and winner of Flèche Wallonne, perhaps it is time for Cadel to focus on the classics and shorter stage races. To be fair, Cadel did fracture his elbow on Sunday.  He is clearly a very tough SOB.

Sandy Casar takes out a cagey stage win.  Casar outlasted his break companions and spanked Contador and Schleck, who joined them just before the line.

“The last 5km nobody was riding and it wasn’t exactly what I expecting,” said Casar. “We knew some riders were coming from behind but we didn’t know who it was. I was a little surprised there were no attacks 3-4km from the finish. When the Schleck group caught us and Andy took the lead it was a surprise for us.”

Schleck, now in yellow, said he believed that he and Contador were both riding “at about the same level.  With a narrow 41 seconds in front of Contador, he added, “It’s now up to him (Contador) to attack in the Pyrenees.”

Contador said, “It was a really epic stage, and the very hard climb to the Madeleine left a lot of people struggling.  I know what my aim is now, and which wheel I have to follow — Andy Schleck’s. I think he’s the most dangerous.”

JENS VOIGT IS THE MAN !!  Voigt drilled it up the Madeleine on behalf of Schleck and Team Saxo Bank.  He finally shattered, 300m to the top, practically coming to a dead stop on the final steeps of the Madeleine, as Contador and Schleck forged ahead.  My count was that it took him nearly 2 minutes to go 300m.

Now What?

It looks like Andy Schleck is the becoming the guy to beat.  If he and Contador stay close to the Pyrenees, I really like his odds of taking out the win.  Perhaps that is just my optimism that someone will beat Contador.  Third spot on the podium is wide open; however, I am going with Denis Menchov.

1. SCHLECK Andy 11 TEAM SAXO BANK 43h 35′ 41″
2. CONTADOR Alberto 1 ASTANA 43h 36′ 22″ + 00′ 41″
3. SANCHEZ Samuel 181 EUSKALTEL – EUSKADI 43h 38′ 26″ + 02′ 45″
4. MENCHOV Denis 191 RABOBANK 43h 38′ 39″ + 02′ 58″
5. VAN DEN BROECK Jurgen 101 OMEGA PHARMA – LOTTO 43h 39′ 12″ + 03′ 31″
6. LEIPHEIMER Levi 25 TEAM RADIOSHACK 43h 39′ 40″ + 03′ 59″
7. GESINK Robert 195 RABOBANK 43h 40′ 03″ + 04′ 22″
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