[QODLink]
Cycling
Schleck attacks but Voeckler holds on
Andy Schleck wins 18th stage of Tour but France's Thomas Voeckler keeps the yellow jersey by skin of his teeth.
Last Modified: 21 Jul 2011 17:31
France's very own Thomas Voeckler fought for his life to keep the yellow jersey [EPA] 

Andy Schleck roared to victory on the history-making 18th stage featuring the highest ever finish in Tour de France history on Thursday.

But the Luxembourger's bid for the overall lead was thwarted by Thomas Voeckler.

The French rider put up a successful effort to retain the yellow jersey on the punishing second of three day's riding in the Alps, crossing the 2,645 metre Col du Galibier summit in fifth.

Schleck, who began the day 2min 36sec behind Voeckler, gambled with a solo attack on the gruelling 23km climb up Galibier, and he rounded the final bend with yellow in his grasp.

But Voeckler gritted his teeth to hold onto the lead by only 15sec.

Schleck's brother, Frank, took second in the stage to be third in the overall standings, 1:08 adrift, with Australian Cadel Evans, third to cross the line, 1:12 off the lead in fourth.

Alberto Contador, bidding for a fourth successive title, was the day's biggest loser.

The Spaniard started out on the gruelling 200.5km run in sixth, 3:15 off the pace, but dropped back to seventh to lie 4:44 behind Voeckler after failing to keep tabs with his main yellow jersey contenders in the closing kilometres.

That could well be game over for the controversial Saxo Bank rider, but for Evans it is still very much game on, with Friday's closing day in the Alps to come and Saturday's penultimate 20th stage time trial.

  Cadel Evans will be the favourite to win the Tour de France after Contador fell further behind [EPA] 

Andy Schleck arrived on top of Galibier, which first featured in the Tour in 1911, with a 2:07 advantage on his brother Frank, with Evans 2:15 back.

Explaining why he had gone for broke the stage winner said: "I don't want to finish fourth in Paris, and I said to myself 'I'm going to risk everything, it'll work or it'll fail'."

"That's the way I am, I'm not afraid of losing. And if my legs were hurting out in front I knew the others would be hurting to catch me up."

He added: "I've won the stage, I'm into second overall, perhaps tomorrow it'll be the yellow jersey. I wanted to take the jersey but Thomas (Voeckler) surprised everyone, it's great for cycling."

Friday's 19th stage is a 109.5km ride from Modane to Alpe d'Huez and features another climb up Galibier.

Source:
AFP
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Your chance to be an investigative journalist in Al Jazeera’s new interactive game.
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.

Featured
Private citizens take initiative to help 'irregular' migrants, accusing governments of excessive focus on security.
Indonesia's cassava plantations are being killed by mealybugs, and thousands of wasps will be released to stop them.
Violence in Ain al-Arab has prompted many Kurdish Syrians to flee to Turkey, but others are returning to battle ISIL.
Unelected representatives quietly iron out logistics of massive TPP and TTIP deals among US, Europe, and Asia-Pacific.
Led by students concerned for their future with 'nothing to lose', it remains to be seen who will blink first.