Contador versus Schleck: A game of seconds
Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck, Tour de France 2010, stage 11
The Tour de France duel between Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck will come down to seconds, according to Astana's sports director Giuseppe Martini. The advantage, he said, will be with the leader ahead of the final time trail.
"When you start the final time trial with the yellow jersey," Martinelli told Cycling Weekly, "anything is possible."
Schleck holds the yellow jersey with a lead of 31 seconds over two-time Tour winner, Contador. He has four mountain days in the Pyrenees to gain additional time on Contador and said that needs to leave them with a good advantage to defend himself in the 52-kilometre time trial to Pauillac.
Contador won last year's time trial of 40.5 kilometres to secure his Tour victory. Schleck finished 21st, losing 1'45" and finishing over four minutes down on Contador in the classification.
"It will be a duel in the Pyrenees - Alberto and I," explained Schleck. "He is nervous and I am nervous because I need to gain more time."
"Andy only needs a few seconds' advantage following the mountains to win the Tour de France," continued Martinelli. "When you start the final time trial with the yellow jersey, anything is possible. So, I would like that after the last mountain stage that we are ahead, even with five seconds."
Contador gained 10 seconds in yesterday's stage to Mende. He used a short, steep climb to leave behind Schleck and move closer to a third overall Tour victory. Martinelli said that Contador grabbed the time because he saw Schleck in a moment of weakness.
"Contador's attack had nothing to do with being worried about the Pyrenees," said Martinelli.
"Alberto has to aim to make some big gaps tomorrow or on the Tourmalet. Yesterday was good, but nothing major."
Martinelli joined Astana to direct Alberto Contador last year after Johan Bruyneel and Lance Armstrong left to form RadioShack. He has won five Grand Tours as a sports director: the Giro d'Italia with Marco Pantani (1998), Stefano Garzelli (2000), Gilberto Simoni (2003) and Damiano Cunego (2004), and the 1998 Tour de France with Pantani.
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The Feed Zone (July 10): Tour de France news and views
Tour de France 2010: Stage reports
Stage 12: Rodriguez wins as Contador attacks
Stage 11: Cavendish bags third stage win but lead out man kicked out of Tour
Stage 10: Cavendish bags third stage win but his lead-out man is kicked out of race
Stage 10: Paulinho claims narrow stage victory on Bastille day
Stage nine: Casar wins stage as Schleck and Contador go head-to-head
Stage seven: Chavanel wins stage and takes overall as Thomas drops out of Tour's white
Stage six: Cavendish makes it two as Tour hots up
Stage five: Cavendish wins his first stage of Tour
Stage four: Petacchi wins into Reims
Stage three: Hushovd takes dramatic win; Thomas second on stage and GC
Stage three live coverage: As it happened
Stage two: Comeback man Chavanel takes victory in Spa
Stage one: Petacchi wins in Brussels as bunch left in tatters
Prologue: Cancellara pips Martin to win
Tour de France 2010: Photos
Stage 11 photo gallery
Stage 10 photo gallery
Stage nine photo gallery
Stage eight photo gallery
Tour 2010 wallpaper
Stage seven photo gallery
Stage six photo gallery
Stage five photo gallery
Stage four photo gallery
Stage three photo gallery
Stage two photo gallery
Stage one gallery
Prologue photo gallery
Tour de France 2010: Videos
Stage 11 video highlights
Stage 10 video highlights
Stage nine video highlights
Stage eight video highlights
Stage seven video highlights
Stage six video highlights
Stage five video highlights
Stage four video highlights
Stage three video highlights
Stage two video highlights
Stage one video highlights
Prologue video highlights
Tour de France 2010: Race guide
Tour de France 2010: Cycling Weekly's coverage index
Official start list, with race numbers
Brits at the Tour 2010
Tout team guide
Tour jerseys: What they are and what they mean
Brits in the Tours: From Robinson to Wiggins