Evans takes the Yellow Jersey in a tough race

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jethro's picture

The Maillot Jeune has gone to Australian Cadel Evans by 1 second over Frank Schleck in an extremely gruelling ride up the two massive unclassified climbs today.

evans Todays race from Pau to Hautacam included the highest pass for this years race in the Pyrenees, the pass over the Col du Tourmalet. Early attacks saw the leader Di Gregorio take a 6 minute lead into the race down hill between the two climbs. However the major action was in 2 places. The last 6 or 7 kms of the Col Du Tourmalet climb were the first breaking point as CSC rider Jens Voight pumped up the pace forcing Kirchen and may other favourites to be dropped. The race down into the valley offered little respite for these riders as they attempted to get back with the favourites, Evans, Sastre, Vandevelde, Menchov and Ricco.

images However the second climb was the damaging one. A 14.4 ascent with an average gradient of 7.2% it was just a long hard slog. It wasn't made easier for Cadel for a couple of potentially disturbing problems. First he had no team mates with him. This is a big worry. The other major problem is the fact that there were two teams that had lots of players in the last few kms. CSC had Sastre and Frank Schleck there with Andy Schleck not far behind. Saunier Duval - Scott, Ricco's team, had the first and second place winners as well as Ricco crossing with Cadel's group only 2 minutes behind. These two teams have between them 5 of the top 10 riders in today's race, and both have 2 in the top 10 of the general classification.

There is a rest day tomorrow so I think Cadel will have a chance to recover after the bad crash yesterday, and then get into the next few days with a recharged attempt.