Tour de France - Schleck wins, Evans in yellow

Eurosport - Sun, 11 Jul 16:31:00 2010

Andy Schleck took the spoils in Avoriaz and Cadel Evans moved into the leader's yellow jersey on a day Lance Armstrong cracked in the Alps on the Tour de France.

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Saxo Bank's Schleck pipped Euskaltel's Samuel Sanchez to win the 189-kilometre stage eight after an action-packed first day in the high mountains.

World Champion Cadel Evans (BMC) and reigning Tour de France champion Alberto Contador (Astana) finished 10 seconds back with the Australian moving into the maillot jaune ahead of the race's first rest day.

But the surprise of the day came with the total collapse of seven-time Tour winner Armstrong, who crashed twice before losing 11 minutes 45 seconds over the final three climbs of the day.

The 38-year-old RadioShack leader hit the deck just 10km into the stage after an early incident in the peloton. Then just moments before the key first category climb of Col de la Ramaz, Armstrong clipped the curb on a roundabout and crashed for a second time.

Aided by his RadioShack team-mates, the American soon regained contact with the main bunch. But with the Astana team of Contador setting a fierce pace, Armstrong was soon dropped on the steepest section of the Ramaz.

Despite pacing by team-mates Chris Horner and Janez Brajkovic, Armstrong was well over a minute down over the summit - and his task was made even harder after being caught up in a third incident moments later, when Spain's Egoi Martinez (Euskaltel) crashed at the summit of Les Gets and brought the Texan to a standstill.

It was one blow too many for Armstrong, whose hopes of reaching a successive podium finish in Paris were shredded after he finished almost 12 minutes down on his fellow general classification contenders at the finish.

The final first category climb through Morzine and up to Avoriaz was dictated by team Astana, for whom the Spaniard Daniel Navarro was setting a blistering pace.

Contador held his compatriot's wheel with rivals Evans, Schleck and Ivan Basso (Liquigas) checking his every move.

With two kilometres to go to the summit and all seven riders of the day's initial breakaway well and truly caught, Basso's team-mate Roman Kreuziger launched an attack, countered quickly by Rabobank's Robert Gesink.

But it was Schleck, wearing the white jersey as the race's best young rider, who made the decisive move, jumping his rivals with 500m to go. Spain's Sanchez managed to catch his wheel, but the Luxembourg tyro showed his strength to clinch the victory.

Dutchman Gesink took third place 10 seconds back ahead of Kreuziger, Contador, Evans, Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Omega Pharma-Lotto), Levi Leipheimer (RadioShack), Basso and Denis Menchov (Rabobank).

"It's my first victory of the season and it felt really good," said the 25-year-old Schleck, whose brother Frank crashed out of the race on the cobblestones in stage three.

"I always wanted to attack in the mountains but the tactic wasn't to go for it today until the situation arose so I did what I had to do. I really want the yellow jersey and I'm in a great position behind Cadel Evans now. I have to thank my team for all the help and support they have given me."

Evans leads Schleck by 20 seconds in the overall standings, with Contador in third place at 1:01. Belgian Van Den Broeck is two seconds back in fourth while Menchov (Rabobank) is fifth at 1:10.

Britain's Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) was distanced by the leading group three kilometres from the summit and finished the stage 1:45 back.

After a rest day on Monday, the Tour continues on Tuesday with the 204.5km stage nine from Morzine Avoriaz to St Jean de Maurienne - a brutal Alpine stage which includes the legendary Col de la Madeleine.

  • Tour de France: Stage 8
Felix Lowe / Eurosport

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