Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland strains as he crosses the finish line during the 19th stage of the Tour de France.
AP Photo/Laurent Rebours
For Swiss rider Cancellara, who finished the stage in 1 hour 56 seconds, it was his second stage win of this year's Tour as he won the Prologue in Rotterdam on the opening day of the race. "Today I really wanted to win but I am also very tired. It was a long day for me and a very long three weeks," he said. "But I'm happy, that's for sure. I've added another win to my big list.
"Thankfully there's only 100 kilometres till Paris, and then it's over. It was nice to get this win in such a nice place. I think tonight we will sit down and celebrate with a nice big bottle of wine."
It was the German Tony Martin of HTC-Columbia who would finish second just 17 seconds off the pace.
As the day wore on, the winds picked up on the leaders in the overall standings in the race. None of the top 10 in the overall standings of the race finished in the top 10 on the stage.
The big upset of the day was handed out by Denis Menchov (Rabobank) who bested Samuel Sanchez (Euskatel-Euskadi) and moved himself into third in the overall and a podium position in Paris.
For the Americans it was Dave Zabriskie (Garmin-Transitions), winner of the 2005 Tour de France Prologue, who had the best finish in fifth, 3 minutes behind Cancellara.
Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank) was the biggest surprise on the day as he proved to the world he has been working on his time trial. Schleck finished just 31 seconds behind Alberto Contador (Astana)--leaving Contador with a slim 39 second advantage in the overall standings. While Contador will keep the yellow jersey in Paris, it was not without a scare on a stage where he had always been considered superior.
"I always said I was going to give it everything till the end and I think I did that," said Schleck. "I've made some progress in the time trial in the past year, but to beat Contador is not easy." Before the first time check, Schleck was unofficially ahead of Contador by 4 seconds.
Contador, Tour de France winner in 2007 and 2009, climbed onto the podium to receive his yellow jersey overtaken by emotion.
"It was a very hard day. I've worked so hard for so many years but today it really came right down to the wire. That's why I'm so emotional," said Contador, who is on his way to his third Tour de France victory. "In fact, I think it's the first Tour I've won where I've been so emotional. I want to thank all the people who have been there for me these last years."
Stage 19 Results
- Fabian Cancellara (SAX) - 53:40
- Tony Martin (THR) +00:09
- Bert Grabsch (THR) +01:27
- Ignatas Konovalovas (CTT) +02:12
- David Zabriskie (GRM) +02:22
- Koos Meorenhout (RAB) +02:31
- Alberto Contador (AST) 89:16:27
- Andy Schleck (SAX) +00:39
- Denis Menchov (RAB) +02:01
- Samuel Sanchez (EUS) +03:40
- Jurgen Van Den Broeck (OLO) +06:54
- Robert Gesink (RAB) +09:31
10. Christopher Horner (RSH) +12:02
13. Levi Leipheimer (RSH) +14:40
23. Lance Armstrong (RSH) +39:20
59. George Hincapie (BMC) +01:46:50
Overall Points Standings
- Alessandro Petacchi (LAM) - 213 Points
- Thor Hushovd (CTT) - 203 Points
- Mark Cavendish (THR) - 197 Points
King of the Mountains Jersey
- Anthony Charteau (BBO) - 143 Points
- Christophe Moreau (GCE) - 128 Points
- Andy Schleck (SAX) - 116 Points
Best Young Rider
- Andy Schleck (SAX) - 89:17:06
- Robert Gesink (RAB) +08:52
- Roman Kreuziger (LIQ) +11:15
Complete Standings on LeTour.fr
52K (32.3 miles) - Saturday July 24
- This time trial will wind past famous vineyards from Bordeaux to Pauillac
- Bordeaux has been a stage town 79 times
Image courtesy of www.letour.com
Image courtesy of www.letour.com