I am glad to see that Andy Schleck reads my blog and takes my advice. Yesterday I suggested that it would be good if one of the favourites went for it on the Col d’Izoard and put 10 minutes into the race in the style of the great riders of the past. Andy Schleck, channelling the spirit of the great Luxembourgian climber of the fifties Charly Gaul, did just that. Well except for the ten minutes. He managed about two and a half, and didn’t quite manage to dislodge Thomas Voeckler from le Maillot Jaune.
Alberto Contador struggled and eventually failed to hold the group containing Cadel Evans (who did almost all the pace-making), Voeckler and Frank Schleck. He eventually finished fifteenth on the stage and lost 3:50 to Andy Schleck. His hopes of winning the Tour are probably over.
Tomorrow’s stage to L’Alpe d’Huez may decide the winner. If Andy Schleck can repeat what he did today then it is all over bar the shouting. However, today’s escapade may have taken a lot out of him, so he could be vulnerable to an attack. Voeckler continues to ride to his absolute limits to keep the Jersey. He had to be lifted off his bike at the finish today, and while I now think it is unlikely, I do not completely rule out his standing on the top step on the Champs Elyeese.