Schleck gains 24 hours on Contador. Rides Tourmalet stage on rest day.

An early attack on Tourmalet. 24 hours early.

Andy takes major time out of Alberto Contador.

According to informed sources, Saxo Bank’s Andy Schleck used the rest day to gain an advantage over his Spanish rival. Knowing he needed a significant lead before the Bordeaux time trial, he attacked on Tourmalet before Contador was ready.

Schleck rode the final stage of the Pyrenees one day early. The bold stroke gave him an astonishing and insurmountable 24 hour time gap over Alberto Contador.

“It is not against the rules,” said Saxo Bank’s manager Bjarne Riis. “There is a loophole and we decided to take advantage. No matter what happens in the time trial, Andy has won the tour.”

The UCI and the Amaury Sports Organization, which runs the Tour de France, are frantically researching the rules to determine if such a tactic is legal. The possibility of Schleck winning the tour by simply riding the stage one day in advance has shocked everyone except Schleck.

“There are plenty of unwritten rules in cycling. For example, not attacking when my chain falls off. I had good legs on the rest day so I told my teammates, why wait for Alberto tomorrow when I can attack while he’s taking a nap.”

What apparently began as a joke by Jens Voigt turned into a bold and unorthodox plan to take the yellow jersey and final victory. It might be the most unexpected tour win in history.

Jonathan Vaughters of Garmin-Transitions said the early jump may be legal. “That rule book is a convoluted mess, it’s so out-of-date and contradictory. They’re even missing pages. Wouldn’t surprise me if Riis is right — the loopholes exist,” said Vaughters.

Reactions from Contador and Team Astana ranged from shock to disbelief. “This is not possible, it’s a joke,” said Contador. “I remain tranqillo. My brother Fran is checking the regulations.”

All teams will start stage 17 tomorrow in Pau at the mandated time except for Saxo Bank which is now taking their rest day. Stayed tuned for further developments.

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  • http://cycletard.tumblr.com/ cycletard

    This paragraph:

    “There are plenty of unwritten rules in cycling. For example, not attacking when my chain falls off. I had good legs on the rest day so I told my teammates, why wait for Alberto tomorrow when I can attack while he’s taking a nap.”

    made me snort soda out my nose.

    Thanks for the laugh, this is very clever!

    • http://www.atwistedspoke.com walshworld

      Tard, I insist that all my readers have at minimum a better than average sense of humor. If not, this whole thing falls apart. Matt

  • http://snowcatcher.blogspot.com/ Snowcatcher

    Another classic! Well done! Very well done!

    • http://www.atwistedspoke.com walshworld

      Snow, what a brilliant, insightful comment. Please do all my compliments from here on out. Thanks, Matt

  • Sacramennah

    Best scoop from the Tour yet! You are one amazing journalist, Matt. I am thoroughly enjoying your coverage.

  • Julian Sweet

    Using this tactic do you think if I started now I could win next years tour?

    Probably not.

    Thanks for the Laugh and the tour!

    • http://www.atwistedspoke.com walshworld

      Julian, running into you both and dinner at le clin d;oeil was one of my tour highlights. Glad you got a laugh and todays final stage got me nostalgic and planning for next year. I will be back. Matt