The 2011 Tour de France appears to now be all but decided. After a ride through the French and Italian Alps that was as unpredictable as we've ever seen, Andy Schleck climbed to the front taking the yellow jersey from Thomas Voeckler. However, as many predicted Saturday's time trial saw Australian Cadel Evans take a dominant lead of 1:34 over Andy Schleck and 2:30 over Frank Schleck. Although there is still the 95 kilometer ride to Paris, that is generally considered a mere formality.
Evans of Santa Rosa-based BMC Racing entered the time trial 57 seconds back of Andy Schleck and 4 seconds back of Frank Schleck. Over his career, Evans has done a solid job on time trials and today was no different. At the first 15 kilometer checkpoint Evans had cut Schleck's lead to 21 seconds. Within seven kilometers of that Evans had captured the virtual lead according to GPS indicators on the cyclists.
From there, Evans poured on more and more time as he started to battle for the stage win itself. Tony Martin ended up with the Stage 20 victory, finishing seven seconds ahead of Evans, but I think Evans will live with his finish. At 55:40, Evans finished a robust 2:38 ahead of Andy Schlecker, which left him with a 1:34 overall lead.
The peloton will head into Paris on Sunday with Cadel Evans likely celebrating the first ever Australian Tour de France victory. Here are your overall standings:
|1.||EVANS Cadel||141||BMC RACING TEAM||83h 45' 20"|
|2.||SCHLECK Andy||11||TEAM LEOPARD-TREK||83h 46' 54"||+ 01' 34"|
|3.||SCHLECK Frank||18||TEAM LEOPARD-TREK||83h 47' 50"||+ 02' 30"|
|4.||VOECKLER Thomas||181||TEAM EUROPCAR||83h 48' 40"||+ 03' 20"|
|5.||CONTADOR Alberto||1||SAXO BANK SUNGARD||83h 49' 17"||+ 03' 57"|
|6.||SANCHEZ Samuel||21||EUSKALTEL - EUSKADI||83h 50' 15"||+ 04' 55"|
|7.||CUNEGO Damiano||161||LAMPRE - ISD||83h 51' 25"||+ 06' 05"|
|8.||BASSO Ivan||91||LIQUIGAS-CANNONDALE||83h 52' 43"||+ 07' 23"|
|9.||DANIELSON Tom||52||TEAM GARMIN - CERVELO||83h 53' 35"||+ 08' 15"|
|10.||PERAUD Jean-Christophe||108||AG2R LA MONDIALE||83h 55' 31"||+ 10' 11"|
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.