Stage 18 – The Day the 2011 Tour de France was Decided

July 21, 2011

Well, that headline might be a bit over the top, but so are the world’s top cyclists. And the way they finished – except for the exceptional Thomas Voekler – might be the way they end up on Sunday.

Today, we saw Andy Schleck for the first time in the race. He shattered (more like tickled at) the field and ended up about 90 seconds ahead of the field.

We saw Cadel Evans lose a little time to both Andy and Frank Schleck. But not nearly insurmountable. What will depend on how Evans finishes is how the stage tomorrow shakes out. If Frank Schleck attacks and wins on Alpe d’Huez, then the top three in Paris might well go….

Frank, Cadel and Andy – in that order.

But I still think it’s Evans race to lose. He can make up time on both those guys in the Time Trial on Saturday. And he just needs to hang on tomorrow and either take back a little time or not lose any.

Oh, Alberto Contador might be DONE for this year unless he wins tomorrow by three minutes or more.

What do you say?