Frenchman Sandy Casar of Francais des Jeux won today's final Alps stage to St. Jean Maurienne while Andy Schleck of Saxo Bank inherited the yellow jersey from a beaten Cadel Evans as Schleck and reigning champion Alberto Contador joined the remnants of the day's breakaway for the stage sprint. Casar took the sprint with a well-timed acceleration and a tight left-hand turn just before the line that closed the door on Lampre's Damiano Cunego.
The early breakaway included three Caisse d'Epargne riders, including their captain Luis Leon Sanchez, who survived to the finish and was in the virtual yellow jersey for a while. However, on the Col de la Madeleine, Saxo Bank increased the tempo of the contenders' group, whittling the chase down one by one, until with 5km to go Schleck accelerated away with Contador in tow. The two traded blows for a while, before declaring detente and joining together for the pursuit of the leaders. They caught them, along with Christophe Moreau, in the finishing village and joined the stage sprint, though to no great effect.
Anthony Charteau of Bbox Bouygues drew even with Jerome Pineau for the polka dot jersey, and will wear the sport's coolest looking kit tomorrow. Evans came in a full 7.47 behind the winners today, looking shelled. [update] Following the race Evans revealed that he has a fractured elbow from a crash on Sunday, which inhibited him today.
More results, below the fold.
- Sandy Casar, FdJ
- Luis Leon Sanchez, Caisse d'Epargne, s.t.
- Damiano Cunego, Lampre, s.t.
- Christophe Moreau, Caisse d'Epargne, at 0.02
- Anthony Charteau, Bbox Bouygues, s.t.
- Alberto Contador, Astana, s.t.
- Andy Schleck, Saxo Bank, s.t.
- Samuel Sanchez, Euskaltel, at 0.57
- Joaquin Rodriguez, Katusha, at 2.07
- Levi Leipheimer, The Shack, s.t.
- Robert Gesink, Rabobank, s.t.
- Jens Voigt, Saxo Bank, s.t.
- Denis Menchov, Rabobank, at 2.10
- De Weert, Basso, VDB, Plaza, Armstrong, at 2.50
And the new GC:
- Contador, at 0.41
- Sammy Sanchez, at 2.45
- Menchov, at 2.58
- Jurgen Van den Broeck, Omega Pharma, at 3.31
- Leipheimer, at 3.59
- Gesink, at 4.22
- Luis Leon Sanchez, at 4.41
- Rodriguez, at 5.08
- Ivan Basso, Liquigas, at 5.09