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Tour de France 2011 – Stage 18

Andy Schleck beat the field by 2:07 seconds today putting himself 0:15 seconds behind overall leader Thomas Voeckler and 3:29 ahead of Alberto Contador in today’s gruelling stage which featured 3 High Mountain (H) climbs – the toughest degree of difficulty in the Tour de France classification system.

Contador’s rather average showing today may have cost him a chance at a podium finish in Tour de France 2011.

Canada’s Ryder Hesjedal rode a strong race today finishing 10th, 3:31 seconds after the winning Schleck brother, picking up 6 places in the overall classification. Unfortunately Hesjedal lost 1:10 in the overall time classification – killing any outside hopes some writers may have had that he could still find a way to finish in the top 10 of this years race.

Andy’s brother Frank Schleck finished second, Cadel Evans finished 8 seconds behind Frank, then came Basso 3 seconds later.

And then surprisingly – after a weeks worth of comments saying he wasn’t going to win this year – 3 seconds after Basso comes Thomas Veokler. Voeckler’s ride with the leaders today keeps him at the top of the time classification – and still very much in this race to win it all.

Were Voeckler’s comments a way of diverting attention away from the Frenchman? To tone down the nationalist rhetoric which the media usually play up – and which seems to become an energy source for many riders? To disappear in the mass of riders, only to burst forth in the final stages? Or perhaps it just part of his character, the way he goes about his business. If so I like him a little more today – even though I’ve never meet or spoken to the man.

Tour de France 2011 – Stage 18 Finish Order

Place  Name             Team         Time         Behind Leader
1.     SCHLECK Andy     TREK         6h 07' 56"
2.     SCHLECK Frank    TREK         6h 10' 03"   + 02' 07"
3.     EVANS Cadel      BMC          6h 10' 11"   + 02' 15"
4.     BASSO Ivan       CANNONDALE   6h 10' 14"   + 02' 18"
5.     VOECKLER Thomas  EUROPCAR     6h 10' 17"   + 02' 21"
6.     ROLLAND Pierre   EUROPCAR     6h 10' 23"   + 02' 27"
7.     CUNEGO Damiano   LAMPRE       6h 10' 29"   + 02' 33"
8.     TAARAMAE Rein    COFIDIS      6h 11' 18"   + 03' 22"
9.     DANIELSON Tom    CERVELO      6h 11' 21"   + 03' 25"
10.    HESJEDAL Ryder   CERVELO      6h 11' 27"   + 03' 31"

Stage 18 Minute by Minute

5:30 AM EST

The race started at 5:30 AM EST (11:30 AM CET) after a 4.6 km neutral zone start. Conditions at the start were ideal, 23 C.

But at the Finish Line, on top of Le Col du Galibier, it was snowing. The finish at Col du Galibier is the highest Stage finish in Tour de France history – at 2,645 metres! The Col Agnel (2 744 m) is the highest elevation in this years race.

Tour de France 2011 – Stage 18 Mountains

Km mark    Mountain                   Length    Pitch   Difficulty
Km 107.0   Col Agnel (2 744 m)        23.7 km   6.5 %   Category H
Km 145.5   Col d'Izoard (2 360 m)     14.1 km   7.3 %   Category H
Km 200.5   Col du Galibier (2 645 m)  22.8 km   4.9 %   Category H

The racers played it conservatively off the start, everyone stayed together – until the 15 km mark, when 20 riders tried a half-hearted attack – they were duly subsumed.

6:00 AM

The race in the first half hour is averaging 60km/hour!!! No wonder no one can escape.

At 30 minutes the riders are 30km along!
Tour de France 2011 Stage 18 – Profile
At 30 minutes the riders are already 30km along!

6:30

16 escape off the front of the Peloton – they are 45 second out.

The average speed for the first hour was 50.3 km/h.

6:55

The Escape16 are 4:55 ahead – time to list them:
(in no particular order)

Monfort             Erviti
Posthuma            Roche
P Moreno            Devenyns
U Perez             Bookwalter
Tjallingii          Duque
Navardauskas        Hondo
Iglinkkiy           Hoogerland
Izizar              Delaplace

Well I just pushed the wrong button and all the narritive data from the race today is gone.

Se ya tomorrow.

mh



Posted: July 21st, 2011
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