Tour de France 2010 delivers drama – without the doping
After a lackluster 2009 edition, this year's Tour de France was filled with action, from the cementing of Contador and Schleck's rivalry to Armstrong's bumpy exit from the sport he dominated in unprecedented fashion.
The 97th Tour de France was filled with action after a lackluster 2009 edition.Skip to next paragraph
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A new rivalry was cemented – winner Alberto Contador of Spain barely defeated Luxembourg’s Andy Schleck on the penultimate day – as the race bid adieu to seven-time champion Lance Armstrong, riding in his final Tour amidst a developing federal doping investigation.
But this year’s race will be remembered for the course as much as for the riders. The 2,263-mile journey was one of the toughest in recent years, with stages over cobblestones and two trips up the brutal Col du Tourmalet, an iconic Pyrénéan mountain pass.
Myriad crashes quickly winnow top contenders
Some riders were knocked out of contention; others, like Andy Schleck’s brother and teammate Frank, were forced to leave the race with injuries.
Remaining contenders suffered at the hands of Contador and Schleck, who separated themselves from the pack before the race was even halfway over.
“Right now it looks like it’s just Alberto versus me,” said Schleck after Stage 9, when he picked up the yellow jersey on the second-to-last Alpine stage.
The two continued their duel in the Pyrénées, celebrating its 100th anniversary in the Tour this year.
Schleck lost his lead on the first day in the mountain range, after Contador infamously attacked just as Schleck's chain popped off during Stage 15, and promised “revenge” on Contador up the Col du Tourmalet, a nearly 7,000-foot pass with one of the race’s richest histories.
But he couldn’t make up an eight-second gap and fell further behind during Saturday’s individual time trial, eventually losing by 39 seconds.