Attack. It must be a common word in the Schleck family home as ever since the roads of this year's Tour turned upwards, that is all Frank Schleck and younger brother, Andy Schleck (Team Saxo Bank) have done, attack.
Today, the Brothers Schleck were rewarded for their efforts. The elder would win the Queen stage from Bourg-Saint-Maurice to Le Grand-Bornand, while Andy would watch with arms raised and take third.
Yellow jersey leader, Alberto Contador (Astana), who was the only other rider able to keep pace with the Schleck, slotted in between the brothers to take second.
Stage 17 Results
1. Fränk Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank
2. Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Astana
3. Andy Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank
With the Schlecks and Saxo Bank playing the instigators once again, the General Classification underwent major revisions. After a bit of fortuitous circumstance that saw Alberto Contador attack late on the final climb of the day, only to shed his Astana teammate, Andreas Kloden, who sat in second place on the virtual standings, Andy Schleck would move into second place and Frank Schleck into third.
General Classification After Stage 17
1. Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Astana - 72:27:09
2. Andy Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank - 0:02:26
3. Fränk Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank - 0:03:25
4. Lance Armstrong (USA) Astana - 0:03:55
5. Andreas Klöden (Ger) Astana - 0:04:44
6. Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Garmin - Slipstream - 0:04:53
7. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas - 0:05:09
8. Christian Vande Velde (USA) Garmin - Slipstream - 0:08:08
9. Christophe Le Mevel (Fra) Française des Jeux - 0:09:19
10. Mikel Astarloza Chaurreau (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi - 0:10:50
It's Not Easy Being Green, Really?
One of the more remarkable efforts on a day full of them was that of Thor Hushovd (Cervelo Test Team). Involved in the early break, the big Norwegian looked like he was a contender for the maillot a pois rouges rather than the maillot vert.
Perhaps spurred on by Mark Cavendish's (Team Columbia - HTC) comments that the green jersey competition was tainted because of circumstances that caused officials to relegate the Isle of Man sprinter at the end of Stage 14, Hushovd climbed away from the green jersey competition on Stage 17. He would extend his lead over Cavendish by 30 points.
Next: Stage 18 - Individual Time Trial - Annecy (40.5 km)
The route around Lake Annecy would be beautiful on any other day for the riders of the Tour de France. But with podium placings on the line, the 25 mile trip around the lake is sure to be a torture fest. Can Lance Armstrong and Andreas Kloden climb back up into the top three and complete an Astan sweep? Will Bradley Wiggins (Garmin-Slipstream) show the time trialing form that brought him an Olympic medal in the Pursuit?
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