Tour de France stage 18: clash of gladiators

camcallsthegame Roar Rookie

By camcallsthegame, camcallsthegame is a Roar Rookie

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    I sat down and didn’t move during the time it took Andy Schleck to take out stage 18 of the Tour de France. What an awesome 198.4 kilometres of first-class cycling from Pinerolo to Galibier – Serre Chevalier.

    It was a stage made for the gladiators and the strongest and bravest of them all triumphed.

    Andy Schleck made a courageous move when he took off from the peloton without support, but that didn’t seem to faze him as he had a teammate ahead and was gaining time back from the yellow jersey and Cadel Evans.

    When Schleck caught his teammate Maxine Monfort it was just the start of one of the great stage rides in Tour de France history as he started to apply more and more pressure to the breakaway.

    Back in the peloton it was a calm bunch of riders who thought that Andy had gone too early – oh how they were about to be proved wrong.

    Stage 18 saw strategy and hard work pay off; it had front row seats to the guts and determination shown from Thomas Voeckler and Cadel Evans; and it was witness to the fall of Alberto Contador, gone from contention.

    The one rider who has yet to really exert his power is the other Schleck – Frank. Frank enjoyed the French mountains today; he sat in the peloton smiling as his brother powered on ahead.

    When Evans started to peel back some time on Andy in the last 15kms, Frank sat in the saddle near the rear waiting for the right time to make his move. That move came in the last kilometre, and he now is eyeing off the podium in France, and maybe, just maybe, the yellow jersey from his brother and team leader.

    Tomorrow we are set for another clash of the titans; what will the efforts delivered do to these great athletes? In my opinion it is set for Frank Schleck to assert his skills, but then Cadel will be hard to hold out in the time trial.

    Stay turned – the Tour de France is just heating up.

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    The Crowd Says (6)

    • Roar Guru

      July 22nd 2011 @ 8:08am
      Hoy said | July 22nd 2011 @ 8:08am | ! Report

      Poor old Cadel. Once again, might be a team short of winning the jersey.

      • Roar Guru

        July 22nd 2011 @ 8:12am
        Redb said | July 22nd 2011 @ 8:12am | ! Report

        Exactly, he really needed team support in that stage. Not out of reach but getting harder.

    • July 22nd 2011 @ 8:26am
      jamesb said | July 22nd 2011 @ 8:26am | ! Report

      watch it last night. Tired this morning.

      was always looking at the time difference, and with 10 kms to go, I think the gap between Schleck and the Peloton was 4 minutes.

      Evans was in trouble at that point. But he somehow gritted his teeth and powered through, and helped Thomas Volker retain the yellow jersey.

      Evans got home 2 minutes 15 seconds behind. He was very close to losing it last night. Very close.

      I heard the commentators say there were three winners today. Andy Schleck winning the stage and eating up alot of time. Volker retains the yellow jersey…….just. While Evans has made ground, at the start of the day, Evans was 1 minute 18 seconds behind, by the end of stage 18 he is 1 minute 12 seconds behind.

      My big worry heading into tonights stage is Frank Schleck. He will be fresh. The brothers could switch roles. If Frank Schleck is going to make a move, Evans has to go with him. It might be risky, but Evans can;t afford the 1 minute 12 seconds behind to blow out to anything close to 2 minutes.

      Huge disappointment was Condator. For once I was hoping he would make a move, since he was well behind evans. But he didn’t. Condator and Sanchez are gone.

      Good Luck Cadel. Either hang on in this last mountain stage or make ground by a few seconds. Don’t lose ground, and be say 1 minute 45 seconds behind or close to 2 minutes otherwise it would be over.

    • July 22nd 2011 @ 8:28am
      Daniels said | July 22nd 2011 @ 8:28am | ! Report

      It must of been an amazing stage. A lot of people will say that the 16-19 is about survival and damage control for Evans. I would say if the margins remain like this tomorrow, he will be in the drivers seat for the Time Trial.

      Schleck is a wonderful climber but a weak TT rider. he is said to need at least a minute going into stage 20, and it looks like he might of left it a little too late.

      Yell 4 Cadel

    • July 22nd 2011 @ 9:13am
      Art Sapphire said | July 22nd 2011 @ 9:13am | ! Report

      If your waiting for my report on this epic stage. It is with The Roar Eds. Hope to see it up soon,

    • Roar Pro

      July 22nd 2011 @ 9:38am
      camcallsthegame said | July 22nd 2011 @ 9:38am | ! Report

      I look forward to reading it Art, however, people want updates fast and I am happy to assist. I enjoyed your article yesterday. Who is your tip yo take out tonight’s stage or more important, who do you think will be in the yellow after tonight?

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