Tour de France 2011: Andy Schleck Takes Overall Lead; Pierre Rolland Wins Stage 19

Andy Schleck finally tracked down Thomas Voeckler, claiming the yellow jersey as the 2011 Tour de France heads into its deciding stage. Luxembourg's Schleck finished ninth in Stage 19, but it was enough to overcome the roughly one-minute lead with which Thomas Voeckler entered the stage.

Schleck now leads Cadel Evans, his closest remaining rival, by 57 seconds as the Tour moves into the final day of racing, an individual time trial. That stage will consist of single riders going through a 26-mile course in Grenoble. Evans is widely considered to be the superior time trialist, leaving some to speculate that Schleck did not do enough to open up a sustainable gap.

Schleck, who has finished second to Spain's Alberto Contador in the previous two Tours, seemed satisfied with his yellow-jersey claiming efforts:

"My motivation is super. My legs are good. The condition is there. So I’m confident I can keep this into Paris."

Stage 19, which had a finish atop the famous Alpe d'Huez, was won by Pierre Rolland, but he was closely followed by Cantador, who had one of his best performances of the race. Contador did finish the stage in third, just 23 second behind Rolland, but it was likely too little too late as the two-time defending champion is nearly four minutes off the pace.

Results

Stage Results

  1. Pierre Rolland (Eurocar)
  2. Samuel Sánchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) :14
  3. Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank) :23
  4. Peter Velits (HTC-Highroad) :57
  5. Cadel Evans (BMC Racing Team) :57

General Classification

  1. Andy Schleck (Leopard Trek)
  2. Fränk Schleck (Leopard Trek) :53
  3. Cadel Evans (BMC Racing Team) :57
  4. Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) 2:10
  5. Damiano Cunego (Lampre-ISD) 3:31
  6. Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank) 3:55
  7. Samuel Sánchez (Euskaltel Euskadi) 4:22
  8. Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Cannondale) 4:40
  9. Tom Danielson (Garmin-Cervélo) 7:11
  10. Pierre Rolland (Europcar) 8:57

For more on the Tour de France, make sure to check out SB Nation's cycling blog Podium Cafe.

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