Schleck gains 24 hours on Contador. Rides Tourmalet stage on rest day.
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 “That rule book is a convoluted mess, it’s so out-of-date and contradictory.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.