You may not care about or watch much cycling, but the Tour de France hit an all-time high on Stage 18 Thursday, one to rival any great sport achievement. On a day when the Tour finished at the highest point in it’s history and featured insane mountain climbs (the riders climbed more than 4,500m of vertical distance), a rider named Andy Schleck made history. With 60 km to go, he took off and torched the field. So dominant was his ride that nearly 90 other cyclists failed to finish in the time required, which was over 30 minuted slower than Schleck. Yes, he beat world-class competitors by over 30 minutes.
Here’s part of what the Guardian had to say. Read the entire story HERE.
On the highest finish in the history of the Tour de France, Andy Schleck ascended to the plateau of greatness. All previous doubts concerning the 26-year-old Luxembourg rider’s courage and judgment were dispelled by a majestic attack that vindicated his supporters, disarmed his critics and earned the gratitude of neutrals who had been waiting for the explosive gesture that would define the 98th edition of the race.
Coming home just over two minutes ahead of his nearest pursuer at the end of a 200km stage that started in the Italian Piedmont town of Pinerolo and included three climbs above 2,300 metres, Schleck reshaped the contest single-handed. Amid the peaks of the Hautes-Alpes the runner-up of 2009 and 2010 came within a mere 15 seconds of tearing the yellow jersey off the shoulders of the extraordinary Thomas Voeckler, whose finish in fifth came after yet another epic of resilience.
While Alberto Contador blew up and Samuel Sánchez faded away, Cadel Evans provided the other heroic performance of the day with a desperate chase of the younger Schleck, gritting his teeth and towing the yellow jersey group up the final climb to cut in half what had been, with 10km to go, a lead of four minutes. Without Evans’s unassisted effort, Schleck might well have opened up enough of a lead to take to Paris.