22 Jul 2011

Schleck firms as Tour de France favourite

8:02 am on 22 July 2011

Andy Schleck left three-times champion Alberto Contador floundering in the thin mountain air as he outwitted, outpaced and outclassed his Tour de France rivals with an inspired climb to win the 18th stage.

The Luxembourg climber, runner-up to Contador in 2009 and 2010, reached the top of the Galibier pass on his own, but his efforts were not enough to dislodge Thomas Voeckler from the yellow jersey.

The second Schleck brother Frank finished the stage in second with Australian Cadel Evans third, however Frenchman Voeckler retains the race leaders yellow jersey with a tentative 15 second lead from Andy Schleck.

Defending champion Contador is languishing back in seventh almost five minutes behind Voeckler.