Tour de France Stage 15: CSC’s Strategy Working

CSC’s Frank Schleck took over the yellow jersey today after dropping Cadel Evans in the Italian Alps. Evans started the day one second ahead of Schleck but is now eight seconds behind. Between them in the overall standings is Germany’s Bernard Kohl. It’s a tight race with only seconds separating race favorites Denis Menchov, Christian Vandevelde and Carlos Sastre. Kim Kirchen and Alejandro Valverde are still in arms reach of yellow too.

CSC is in great position to defend Schleck. But what about team leader Carlos Sastre? Sastre was supposed to be CSC’s man to win the Tour. Will this become a race between teammates? Doubtful. But now that Schleck wears yellow, he shouldn’t work for Sastre.

While the big guns fought it out for yellow, up the road, Australia’s Simon Gerrans won the 114-mile trek to Prato Nevoso. The Credit Agricole rider spent the entire day in a four-man breakaway that included American Danny Pate of team Garmin Chipotle. Pate charged to the finish in third place–not bad for his first time in the Tour. Pate’s quartet finished four minutes ahead of Schleck, Evans and the main Tour contenders.

Former Tour winner Oscar Pereiro ended his Tour hopes today when he crashed over a guardrail and busted his shoulder. As expected, Team Columbia’s Mark Cavendish withdrew today after winning four sprint stages in this year’s Tour. We’ll see the amazing Cav again in the Beijing Olympics.

For all those tired legs, tomorrow is a rest day, and we have one more week to go!

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