2010 Tour de France Stage 17 Recap: Victory Number 10 for Oakley
The day before he took on Alberto Contador and the Tourmalet’s vertiginous flanks, Andy Schleck said he thought Thursday’s ascent of the most storied mountain pass in the Pyrenees would be his last chance to rip the yellow jersey off Contador’s back.
When that didn’t happen, Schleck offered a dramatically different assessment. The game, he insisted, is still on.
“I changed my mind when I crossed the finish line,” Schleck said. “I will see a great pedal in the time trial. My dad always used to say that, in his time, the one who did the good time trial, they fell off the bike when they finished.”
In other words, he would leave nothing on the asphalt except perhaps his body.
The 32-mile trial from Bordeaux to Pauillac on Saturday will determine whether Contador wins his third Tour de France or Schleck makes a breakthrough. The smart money, of course, remains on the former. The latter’s Tour began with a poor short time trial in Rotterdam, when he lost 42 seconds to Contador over a 5.5-mile prologue course.
Now, 17 stages later, Schleck trails the defending champion by eight seconds.
Despite delivering the climb of his 25-year-old life, the man from Luxembourg simply couldn’t shake his Spanish adversary. Contador stayed glued to Schleck’s wheel for most of the 11 1/2-mile, 4,590-foot ascent, although he did briefly counter-attack, albeit only to remind Schleck of the futility of his mission. He later said he had no interest in a stage victory, only in holding Schleck at bay.
“I wanted to tell him, ‘Hey, I’m here also,’ " Contador said of his surge to the fore two miles from the finish.
They dropped the breakaway leader Alexandr Kolobnev on the Tourmalet’s lower slopes as if he were pedaling in reverse, then rode alone all the way to the top.
“I showed I’m with him now,” Schleck said of Contador. "It’s only eight seconds. I can see the yellow jersey out in front of me. I really want it.
“I’m not going to give up until Paris.”
Tour tradition dictates the final 62-mile stage from the southern Paris suburbs to the Champs Elysées is a friendly, Champagne tippling ride only, but maybe Schleck will cut against the grain and race that day, too.
1. SCHLECK Andy OAKLEY
2. CONTADOR Alberto
3. RODRIGUEZ Joaquin OAKLEY
4. HESJEDAL Ryder
5. SANCHEZ Samuel OAKLEY
1. CONTADOR Alberto
2. SCHLECK Andy OAKLEY
3. SANCHEZ Samuel OAKLEY
4. MENCHOV Denis
5. VAN DEN BROECK Jurgen
6. GESINK Robert
7. RODRIGUEZ Joaquim OAKLEY
8. HESJEDAL Ryder TRANSITIONS // OAKLEY
9. KREUZIGER Roman
10. HORNER Christopher OAKLEY
11. SANCHEZ Luis-Leon OAKLEY
10 STAGE’S VICTORIES.
WHITE JERSEY. ANDY SHCLECK.
GREEN JERSEY. THOR HUSHOVD.
POLKADOT JERSEY. ANTHONY CHARTEAU.