Alberto Contador used a dominating time trial performance in Annecy to solidify his hold on the yellow jersey. The Spaniard won the stage and gained one minute, 45 seconds over his nearest competitor, Andy Schleck, to pad his overall lead to over four minutes with just three stages remaining.
Team Saxo Bank's Fabian Cancellara put up a fast time early on, but it wouldn't stick as Contador rode hard from the start, used a strong acceleration over the short climb on the course, and bested the Stage 1 time trial winner by three seconds.
Bradley Wiggins, who needed a solid ride to give him a buffer before heading up Mont Ventoux on Saturday, came out fast but didn't gain enough time over Lance Armstrong, who managed to move into third in the GC, 11 seconds ahead of Wiggins.
A surprising effort by climbing-specialist Andy Schleck kept him in second, holding over a minute lead on Armstrong.
Alberto Contador rides between media motorcycles during the time trial in Annecy.
AP Photo/Bas Czerwinski
Stage 18 Results
- Alberto Contador – Astana – 48:30
- Fabian Cancellara – Team Saxo Bank +00:03
- Mikhail Ignatiev – Team Katusha +00:15
- Gustav Larsson – Team Saxo Bank +00:33
- David Millar – Garmin-Slipstream +00:41
- Bradley Wiggins – Garmin-Slipstream +00:43
- Luis-Leon Sanchez – Caisse d'Epargne +00:44
- Christophe Moreau – Agritubel +00:45
- Andr?as Kl?den – Astana +00:54
- David Zabriskie – Garmin-Slipstream +01:02
Other U.S. Riders
16. Lance Armstrong – Astana +01:30
24. Christian Vande Velde – Garmin-Slipstream +02:00
34. George Hincapie – Team Columbia-HTC +02:34
119. Danny Pate – Garmin-Slipstream +05:16
151. Tyler Farrar – Garmin-Slipstream +06:39
- Alberto Contador – Astana – 73:15:39
- Andy Schleck – Team Saxo Bank +04:11
- Lance Armstrong – Astana +05:25
- Bradley Wiggins – Garmin-Slipstream +05:36
- Andr?as Kl?den – Astana +05:38
40.5K (25.2 miles) - July 23, 2009
• Annecy has hosted a stage twice before
• Annecy, known as the "Venice of the Alps" last saw the Tour come through in 1959
• This individual time trial does not offer any green jersey points
• Mountain Passes: C?te de Bluffy located at 28.5 kilometers - 3.7km climb to 6 percent grade - Category 3
Image courtesy of www.letour.com
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