Saturday, 16 July 2011

Vanendert and Voeckler put in rides of their lives to triumph on final day in the Pyrenees

On a day when many thought Frank Schleck or Cadel Evans would inherit the Maillot Jaune, Thomas Voeckler put in the ride of his life to climb with the best of them to maintain his run in the yellow jersey and take it into the Alps on his shoulders. Meanwhile Belgium's Jelle Vanendert was storming to the ride of his career finishing the stage in 5:13:25 to take his first ever Tour victory.

Newly crowned King of the Mountains, the Beligan rider vanquished his rivals after remaining the only rider from the biggest escaping group of this years Tour to stay one step ahead of the chasing pack.

With Leopard-Trek demanding a torturous pace as they headed into the final climb, the Plateau de Beille, lead by Jens Voight who had earlier suffered two crashes on the short but tough stage, the peloton was fractured to separate the men from the boys. Voeckler showed what he was made of to stick with the contenders for overall success in the GC to show he is no longer the "young pretender" and now a possible contender himself.

Andy Schleck lead three attacks to test the resolve and strength of Contador but the young Spaniard matched him blow for blow as they sparred. Unable to shake off Evans or Basso, the Schleck brothers were unable to deal a fatal blow to their main rivals. With Voeckler in the mix too all eyes will be on him from Monday as the race heads into the Alps from which only one man can emerge victorious.

Tomorrow however there is respite from monsterous mountains as the race bridges the gap between the Pyrenees and the Alps with a sprint favouring stage from Limoux to Montpellier. The last real opportunity for the sprinters to contend for the Green Jersey HTC-Columbia will be looking to drive the peloton hard and take advantage of any opportunity they can get as they strengthen Cavendish's position in the competition with a stage win; the final before Paris a week later.

1 comment :

  1. Great article my dear ;)
    I was sur you would talk about a belgian soon or later ;)
    Just note that this is Jelle VaNendert ;)
    Have a good day !