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31 seconds behind comes Team RadioShack

The 97th edition of the Tour de France will come to an end on July 25th, and with 11 out of 20 stages already completed, the hope of several important cyclists has been dissipated. Two hard mountain stages have opened a great gap between the two first places and the rest, and with this outlook the Tour will be decided between Luxembourgish Andy Schelck and Spaniard Alberto Contador, who is the defending champion.

Contador has recognized that Shelck is his “number one opponent”, and the he needs to “select the attacks to follow”, aware that some others will also attack when they see the chance to do so. Last year he went through the same experience, when the Luxembourgish got him in some troubles. The stage of the Pyrenees will be decisive, and Contador’s statement of selecting the attacks could be referring to this phase of the race.

Shelck has his strategy and impressions as well, with a strong confidence in his conditions and performance, he knows that the Tour is won “stage by stage” and that Contador is not “undefeatable”. He sees the Spaniard with “ups and down”, and hopes that his sensations are confirmed. For the first time in the Tour he had the chance to wear the yellow shirt, which for him is a “dream come true”.

There is only a 41 seconds difference between them, and this is very positive for both, since they only have to focus on each other. The Morzine and the Madelaine stages were decisive for this outcome; the first one caused Armstrong to loose 11:45 minutes, and on the second one Evans suffered an 8:09 difference from the leader. Others don’t have to deal with such big distances, but being more than two minutes away at this point of the competition is just sufficient to end with their possibilities.

The team race is a little bit more opened, since there are four of them with real possibilities of winning. Caisse D’Epargen is ahead of the competition, 31 seconds behind comes Team RadioShack, Astana at 35 seconds, and Rabobank will have to make a greater effort, but is still on the run with a difference of 1: 19 seconds. The mountain classification has three French men on the podium, with Anthony Charteau tied with Jerome Pineau, both have 85 points, and Christophe Moreau comes in third with 65 points.

Evans says goodbye to the yellow jersey

An injury in his elbow product of the fall in Stage 8 had immediate consequences on Cadel Evans’ performance, and finished the race 8:09 minutes down from the leader. Things got even worse when the results from the medical tests were delivered, revealing that the Australian cyclist suffered a fissure in his elbow.

On his website, Evans took the time to thank his teammates from BMC for the effort made on the Tour, were they “showed what they are made of”. This last stage adjusted to his style, but the attacks from Astana where too much to handle with the injury. Before the race nobody was aware of his condition, since he didn’t want to alarm his team.

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