Tour de France Stage 9 whittles contenders down to Schleck, Contador
After Stage 8 of the Tour de France took Lance Armstrong out of the race, two other possible contenders – Cadel Evans and Carlos Sastre – lost critical time. Now it's a race between defending champion Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck.
In Pictures Scenes from the 2010 Tour de France
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Forty kilometers later, they cruised across the finish line in Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne with an iron grip on the overall classification. Their closest rival, 2008 Olympic champion Samuel Sanchez, trails Contador by two minutes and four seconds.
“Right now it looks like it’s just Alberto versus me,” says Schleck, who has a 41-second lead over the Spaniard after more than 43 hours of racing.
One of the main favorites to win this year's Tour, Team BMC’s Cadel Evans, suffered an epic meltdown today.
The Australian, who became the overall race leader after Sunday’s stage up to Morzine-Avoriaz, couldn’t keep up with the tempo set by Contador’s Astana team on today’s final climb. Visibly in pain and wearing blue athletic tape on his left arm after a crash on Sunday, Evans ended the day almost eight minutes behind Schleck of Team Saxo Bank.
After the race, he sat on the steps of the BMC team bus conferring with his team managers and trying to figure out where it all went wrong.
“It’s not my normal self to be dropped from a group like that,” he told reporters packed around the bus. “I’m pretty sure it’s all over this year.”
These past two stages in the Alps were supposed to be appetizers.