Today was Stage 10 of this year’s Tour de France and the second stage in the big mountains, which arrived yesterday when the riders hit the Pyrenees for the first time. It continues to be an epic struggle for the Yellow Jersey, with yet another rider claiming for his own today as Cadel Evans of Australia made his move on cycling’s grandest stage. Italian Leonardo Piepoli claimed the stage win, which was hard fought up the Hautacam, a grueling, punishing climb listed as “uncatagorized” and legendary for it’s length. It was the second such climb of the day.
It was a great comeback for Evans, who fell yesterday, and dramatically rode on with his jersey shredded, and blood running down his leg. In that stage, he managed to catch the peloton once more and hung with the lead group, but today he went on the attack, and at the end of the day, he held a one second lead over Frank Schleck of Luxembourg, with American Christian Vande Velde holding down third, 38 seconds behind. Tour favorite Alejandro Valverde suffered a major blow to his chances today, cracking on the first major climb at Tourmalet and losing 4 minutes 41 seconds to Evans.
Tomorrow brings a much needed rest day for the riders, the first of two over the course of the three weeks of the race. Wednesday they’ll resume the race with a 167.5 km (104 mile) course from Lannemezan to Foix, a first time route for the tour, that will wind it’s way through the foothills of the Pyrenees. The course is said to be fast, but full of curves and a few other surprises.
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