TDF Stage 17 D – Day

22 Jul

Stage 17 is the Queen stage of this year’s Tour, but it is the do or die stage for Andy Schleck.  To have any chance of winning in Paris, he has to take back the yellow jersey and the lead from rival Alberto Contador in Stage 17.

Consider this:  Tour de France riders have completed 16 stages, ridden over 3,000km, in 78 hours + and only 8 seconds separates the top to riders.  Amazing.

Stage 17 will have riders ascend the Col de Marie-Blanque, Col de Soulor, and the Col du Tourmalet. Although riders climbed the Col du Tourmalet just 2 days ago in Stage 16, Stage 17 marks the first ever summit finish on the Tourmalet.

The climb up the Tourmalet will decide everything for Schleck.  He must take back the yellow jersey on the Tourmalet to have any chance to win the Tour de France – unless something unforeseen (and unlikely) happens to Contador on or before Saturday’s time trial.

Tomorrow is truly D-Day.  Again, it is so unfortunate that Schleck had the mechanical when he did.  He appeared to be stronger than Contador in Stage 15 and without a doubt Schleck had the psychological advantage.  He had Contador on the ropes – and his chain slips!  I still can not believe it.  Contador’s quick decision to capitalize on Schleck’s misfortune was proof positive that he was not sure he could beat Schleck.

If only Schleck had that 31 seconds on Contador going into tomorrow.  It might seem like nothing in terms of time, but it would have changed everything in terms of the race.

I am hoping for a miracle tomorrow – or just a little Karma!

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