Andy Schleck slips up in Tour. No, down.

Schleck heads to the start, stage 16, Tour de France.

Is Andy Schleck letting this Tour de France slip?

Last year it was a slipped change that was the time difference between him beating Albertto Contador to that final maillot juane.

This year it might be slipping tires. On the descent of the Col de Manse, Andy was hesitant and locked up, overheating his brakes and propbably giving himself hand cramps.

He lost 48 second on the former mountain biker Cadel Evans who showed little fear and plenty of boldness. Things weren’t that much better for brother Frank and Thomas Voeckler who dropped 30 seconds to the Australian.

Sometimes we forget that winning the tour isn’t just about climbing the Alps and Pyrenees fast and crushing a time trial. Basic bike handling skills also come in handy.

Lance Armstrong nearly lost a tour when Joseba Beloki crashed right in front of him. Instead of going down, he went left and cross-country, cutting thru a field, hoping a ditch and then leaping back on his bike.

That doesnt’ sound like a move the Brothers Schleck could pull off. However, we’ll et money that Cadel Evans has the agility and confidence to keep the rubber right side up.

While Andy Schleck finds himself in the thrilling position of leading Alberto Contador by 39 seconds on GC, he also realized he is already 1:18 behind Cadel Evans.

Unlike the Brothers Schleck, Evans hasn’t let any opportunity slip. He’s been agressive from the depart, attacking when he sees a weakness and reacting immeidatly to any threat. Going into the Alps tomorrow, it’s his tour to lose.

French radio comentators went nuts over Schleck’s brake dance down the COl de Manse. You could practically feel Lauren Jalabert shaking his head..

Andy Schleck is literally stopping himself from winning the Tour de France.

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  • beth

    Well, if he doesn't have the skill to descend on slick narrow roads, then he was right to take it slow. You don't win grand tours that way, but I can't find it in my heart to ridicule him for a desire to stay alive. I know that you weren't doing that, but plenty in the twitter universe are doing just that. They must all be really awesome at going down hill…..

    • killer hiller

      Well, I'm pretty awesome at going downhill… but that's because I practice, I used to suck at it. Cadel has skills from his days as a mountain biker. Sammy Sanchez is an awesome downhiller, probably coz he knows what a rush it is to ride at the limit of his abilities (and thus expanding them). Andy was right to ride within his limits, but he was wrong to whine about descending. Everyone made it down the hill safely, so it wasn't too unsafe. Andy (and all of us twitterers) know that he's not a good descender. He could either practice and get good at it, or attack on the climbs to make up for his slower descents. He's not going to win a grand tour without doing one or the other, and complaining about going downhill just makes him look stupid.

  • Higgins

    Schleck was already looking like someone who pulled out their six shooter only to realise they had packed a water pistol. He hasnt convinced with any of his attacks so far, never looking confident that he could actually open a gap up. The Schleck brother's complaints about lack of aggression from other riders in the pyrenees were comical, even if their downhilling isnt. Today he invited ridicule by complaining about dangerous stages – as if all mountain stages must finish on the summit. Whilst this years events have certainly raised questions about rider safety, Andy just sounded like a petulant loser which is ironic when he is still leading the worlds best climber, and not far off a capable but not gifted rival in the mountains in Evans.

    The race is still wide open, but one person at least seems to have decided they wont win again.

  • Lyndon

    Self preservation has its place, particularly in the aftermath of the Wouter Weylandts death at the Giro. But, as Jonathan Vaughters poignantly pointed out at the time – 'A bike racer who doesn't believe he is invincible isn't much good to anybody'.

    Also, a note on Evans – he goes downhill better than most. Check out the youtube clip of the descent of the Col de la Bonette in 2008. Awesome!

  • wade

    Next Andy Schleck will want time trials banned… and get rid of those annoying sprint finishes…. lets make them all uphill…. maybe next year we can call make it "tour de everest".

    SORE LOSER and GO CADEL!!!

    (for the record there was one small crash on this downhill section and no problems there last year)

  • icexvi

    nice little review of the wchleck's performance…..brief and crisp……but personally i fell yesterday everything was against he brothers…..they never enjoy such conditions and descents…..remember contador too lost time on the climb to luz-adrdiden and looked weak….but he has bounced back, so can the schleck brothers on stage 18 & 19……but tomorrow is another tough climb followed by a long and technical descent…..if contador and evans can attack again and gain time on the climb, the descent is going to kill the schleck's chances for good….

  • nulens

    Contador and Evans. the battle of the alps is between these two. I give the pistolero a slight nod. he is improving ech day.. dosing his energies. Evans is tough as well, but he gives 30-40secs to Contador in the TT.

  • IdeaStormer Jorge

    The Schlecks biggest rival is???

    Themselves. Contador must be laughing is rear off, he is just riding his own race and the Schlecks lose time by just looking at him instead of putting the race to him. The Schlecks are the supposedly the great climbers or ascend-ors but have yet to prove that, yet have proven to be crappy descenders and that is their downfall. Safety was thrown out ages ago, the Schlecks are using the worse wheels for a wet steep descent and then complain! If they were really concerned with safety they'd of gotten aluminum rims on their wheels to stop better and scrapped their shoes on the road to slow down, but no instead they use the worse wheels for wet conditions… brains are also needed to win le Tour, you know.

    Matt, typo city man, get on it.