The Tour de France has narrowed to a two-man race with still half the race left to race. Today on the Alpine mountain passes leading to Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne, Andy Schleck and Alberto Contador delivered a knock-out blow to former race leader, Cadel Evans.

“I’m not at my normal level,” said Evans, “but when you’re in the yellow jersey at the Tour, whether you’re good or not, you have to be there.”



Evans crashed in the opening kilometres of Sunday’s stage to Morzine-Avoriaz, where he eventually took the overall lead by 20 seconds over Schleck. The yellow jersey, though, couldn’t heal a fractured left elbow, which the team revealed only after today’s stage.

Over the 204.5 kilometres to Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne, Evans suffered. Once Astana turned up the tempo on the Madeleine climb, Evans slid off the back of the favourites group. Schleck then took his turn and attacked several times, eventually riding clear with Contador.

Evans’ loss? Just over eight minutes, which slotted him just behind Nicolas Roche (AG2R La Mondiale) and Bradley Wiggins (Sky) in the overall classification.

“I did not expect him to win this Tour because he had a hard Giro d’Italia behind him,” said Schleck.

“The others could have attacked, but they didn’t. As it is now, it looks like a race between me and Alberto.”

Schleck leads by 41 seconds and nearly three minutes on Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Denis Menchov (Rabobank).

“I had a good agreement with Andy and we took advantage of it,” explained last year’s winner, Contador. “We had a good battle on the Madeleine at first, he was attacking me, but then we agreed to work together to arrive to the finish line [to maximise the time gains].

“It’s clear now that my rival is Andy.”

And the last step on the podium? After a quick assessment of the results, Sky’s team manager, David Brailsford, considers Wiggins amongst a small group who may fight for third overall.

“There’s probably 15, 20 guys who can fight it out all the way to see how they fare.”

Wiggins is 16th overall at seven minutes back.

Bradley Wiggins, Tour de France stage 9



Bradley Wiggins

Tour de France 2010: Latest news



Wiggins to aim for Tour de France stage win?



Dan Lloyd battles on in Tour despite groin strain



Bradley Wiggins: Tour rest day conference



Evans faces rough ride in yellow



Riis secures replacement sponsor but Shleck in doubt



Tour de France 2010: rest day review (July 12)



Armstrong’s Tour de France dream ends



Sky’s objective clear ahead of Tour’s high mountains



The Feed Zone (July 10): Tour de France news and views



Thomas: ‘Yellow jersey would be unbelievable



Analysis: The role of Renshaw



Cavendish strikes back in Tour de France



Thomas happy with Tour’s white jersey; but says ‘All for Brad’



Wiggins crashes on Tour stage start



Cavendish and Farrar return to top



Cavendish keeps up fight for first Tour win



Sky delivers Boasson Hagen to third without pressure

Tour de France 2010: Stage reports



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 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 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

Tour de France 2010: Pictures



Tour team presentation, Rotterdam



Tour teams take to the cobbles: Photo special

 

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  • Hadyn Bosher @ 77in Thailand

    “Wiggins could fight for 3rd”Brailsford ?nothing like being optomistic,!!it would have to be FIGHT .period !!,a strange quote to say the least.,considering he’s lost time on the last 2days and 7minutes back.