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July 18, 2006

Schleck conquers l'Alpe d'Huez

CSC's Amstel Gold winner Frank Schleck rode away from 2004 Giro champion Damiano Cunego near the top of the legendary Alpe d'Huez to take his first Tour de France stage win.

The 26-year-old Schleck got into a big break with teammates Jens Voigt and David Zabriskie, and each helped thin the herd by setting a wicked pace on the early slopes of the climb. Voigt chased back onto the break after a late crash, went right to the front, and still had the power to pace Sastre back into contention, cracking Cadel Evans, later on the climb.

Landis back in yellow

Meanwhile, a few minutes behind them, the longed-for battle for the yellow jersey commenced, with Floyd Landis and Andreas Klöden riding more than a minute ahead of Denis Menchov, Cadel Evans, and reigning race leader Oscar Pereiro, and putting a few seconds into CSC's Carlos Sastre and Gerolsteiner's Levi Leipheimer.

Klöden and Landis each matched the other's moves, slowly whittling their group down, until they were the only GC contenders left, riding with three survivors of the early break. Each was helped by a teammate who got up the road in the break; Landis by Merckx, who paced the small group for more than a kilometer, and Klöden by Mazzoleni, who did likewise near the top of the mountain. When OLN's team questioned Phonak's performance, saying Landis was alone on the mountain, they apparently blotted Merckx completely out, despite a very strong performance by Merckx, who recently extended his contract through next year.

Top 10:
1) Frank Schleck, CSC, Luxembourg, in 4:52:22
2) Damiano Cunego, Lampre, Italy, at :11
3) Stefano Garzelli, Liquigas, Italy, at 1:10
4) Floyd Landis, Phonak, USA, same time
5) Andreas Klöden, T-Mobile, Germany, same time
6) Ruben Lobato, Saunier Duval, Spain, at 1:14
7) Sylvain Chavanel, Cofidis, France, at 1:18
8) Eddy Mazzoleni, T-Mobile, Italy, at 1:28
9) Carlos Sastre, CSC, Spain, at 1:35
10) Levi Leipheimer, Gerolsteiner, USA, at 1:49
11) Denis Menchov, Rabobank, Russia, at 2:21
14) Oscar Pereiro, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, at 2:49
15) Michael Rogers, T-Mobile, Australia, same time
16) Cadel Evans, Davitamon-Lotto, Australia, same time
Full results

1) Floyd Landis, Phonak, USA, in 69:00:05
2) Oscar Pereiro, Caisse d'Epargne, at :10
3) Cyril Dessel, AG2R, France, at 2:02
4) Denis Menchov, Rabobank, Russia, at 2:12
5) Carlos Sastre, CSC, Spain, at 2:17
6) Andreas Klöden, T-Mobile, Germany, at 2:29
7) Cadel Evans, Davitamon-Lotto, Australia, at 2:56
8) Michael Rogers, T-Mobile, Australia, at 5:01
9) Levi Leipheimer, Gerolsteiner, USA, at 6:18
10) Haimar Zubeldia, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Spain, at 6:20

Posted by Frank Steele on July 18, 2006 in Andreas Klöden, Cadel Evans, Damiano Cunego, Dave Zabriskie, Denis Menchov, Floyd Landis, Frank Schleck, Jens Voigt, Levi Leipheimer, Stage results, Top Stories, Tour de France 2006 | Permalink


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I think they noted that Landis would be alone on today's final climb yesterday. No comment on it in this morning's broadcast....

Didn't CSC look strong in supporting Schleck over the second-last climb of the day?

Posted by: Cam at Jul 18, 2006 2:33:21 PM

Cam -- it was Sherwen; just after the stage, he said Landis was "alone for the last 30-40 kilometers." I just heard it again, and I don't think I'm misunderstanding him, but it seems so clueless I would like to think I am...

Posted by: Frank at Jul 18, 2006 4:02:05 PM