Stage 15 from Pamiers to Bagnères-de-Luchon ended with a technical downhill from an Hors catégorie climb–Port de Balès, a challenging 12-mile climb. The competition is spreading out, jerseys are changing hands, and there is no telling who is going to win the next stage.
Team Astana’s Alberto Contador is the new yellow jersey leader. On the final climb of the Port de Balès, Andy Schleck was a victim of chain suck when his chain got wedged up between the crank and the bottom bracket. As he made the repair, Contador took the opportunity to win the yellow jersey.
Stage winner Thomas Voeckler of France climbs towards Port de Bales pass
during the 15th stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 187.5
kilometers (116.5 miles) with start in Pamiers and finish in Bagneres-de-
Luchon, Pyrenees region, France, Monday, July 19, 2010.
(AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
“I didn’t know anything about the problems with Andy Schleck, but when I realized it, I was already ahead of him,” said Contador. “The only thing that I saw was that he was beginning to attack and then he slowed down. I didn’t realize that he had a problem with the bike.” Contador’s lead over Schleck is only eight seconds. Schleck is still in the lead for the white jersey by four minutes, 53 seconds. Alessandro Petacchi has the green jersey.
BBox Bouygues Telecom’s Thomas Voeckler won the stage one minute, 20 seconds over Alessandro Ballan of BMC Racing Team. Contador came in seventh place, Schleck in 12th, RadioSchack’s Levi Leipheimer in 17th, and Lance Armstrong in 23rd. Team RadioShack had a strong showing in the team race and is in the lead by four minutes, 27 seconds.
The pack climbs towards Port de Bales pass during the 15th stage of the
Tour de France cycling race over 187.5 kilometers (116.5 miles) with start in
Pamiers and finish in Bagneres-de-Luchon, Pyrenees region, France,
Monday, July 19, 2010. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
Voeckler dominated the climbing race winning the last three climbs and securing 60 points. He is now in third place for King of the Mountain with 82 points. Anthony Charteau is still in the lead with 115 points, followed by Jérôme Pineau with 92 points.
The riders passed a memorial to Fabio Casartelli at the 105 km mark. Casartelli was the 1992 Olympic champion. He competed in the 1995 Tour de France as Lance Armstrong’s teammate. He went down in a crash while descending the Portet d’Aspet, the second categorized climb of this stage. That day, Casartelli did not wear a helmet due to the heat. He died of a head injury en route to the hospital. A beautiful memorial sits on the Portet d’Aspet in his honor.
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Michigan cyclist’s guide to the 2010 Tour de France
Lance Armstrong moves up in stage 16 of the Tour de France from Bagnères-de-Luchon to Pau ⇒