The 2011 Tour de France reached the midway point of its run through the Alps and Stage 18 featured a riveting battle for the yellow jersey. Andy Schleck finally made his move for the front and looked ready to claim the overall lead at the highest stage finish in Tour history. Schleck led the peloton, which included leader Thomas Voeckler, by upwards of four minutes at one point. Schleck ran out of gas towards the end but held on to the stage victory. More importantly, his monster move brought him to within 15 seconds of Voeckler for the Tour lead.
Voeckler was part of the group that finished 2+ minutes back of Andy Schleck. This group included Voeckler, Frank Schleck and BMC Racing's Cadel Evans. Evans led the group for much of the final chase but Frank Schleck made a late run to claim second on the stage and climb above Evans in the overall standings. At this point Voeckler is the overall leader, Andy Schleck is 15 seconds back, Frank Schleck is 1:08 back and Cadel Evans is 1:12 back. Although Damiano Cunego and Ivan Basso are 3:46 back, the Tour would seem to be down to the four riders at the top.
The Tour wraps up in the Alps on Friday and it will be interesting to see if Andy Schleck can build off his big run or if he will feel the sting from his big move today.
|1.||VOECKLER Thomas||181||TEAM EUROPCAR||79h 34' 06"|
|2.||SCHLECK Andy||11||TEAM LEOPARD-TREK||79h 34' 21"||+ 00' 15"|
|3.||SCHLECK Frank||18||TEAM LEOPARD-TREK||79h 35' 14"||+ 01' 08"|
|4.||EVANS Cadel||141||BMC RACING TEAM||79h 35' 18"||+ 01' 12"|
|5.||CUNEGO Damiano||161||LAMPRE - ISD||79h 37' 52"||+ 03' 46"|
|6.||BASSO Ivan||91||LIQUIGAS-CANNONDALE||79h 37' 52"||+ 03' 46"|
|7.||CONTADOR Alberto||1||SAXO BANK SUNGARD||79h 38' 50"||+ 04' 44"|
|8.||SANCHEZ Samuel||21||EUSKALTEL - EUSKADI||79h 39' 26"||+ 05' 20"|
|9.||DANIELSON Tom||52||TEAM GARMIN - CERVELO||79h 41' 14"||+ 07' 08"|
|10.||PERAUD Jean-Christophe||108||AG2R LA MONDIALE||79h 43' 33"||+ 09' 27"|
We'll be here for the entire race providing news updates and stage previews and recaps, particularly as they relate to Bay Area-based BMC Racing. For more in-depth discussion on the 2011 Tour De France, head over to Podium Cafe. For more general Tour coverage, head over to the SB Nation story stream.