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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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



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Stage two: Comeback man Chavanel takes victory in Spa



Stage one: Petacchi wins in Brussels as bunch left in tatters



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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



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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

Tour de France 2010: Pictures



Tour team presentation, Rotterdam



Tour teams take to the cobbles: Photo special

 

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