As everyone estimated, Stage 9 was a decisive stage. Andy Schleck delivered attack after attack on Contatdor, but Contador was able to cover each one. Eventually, the two made a deal to work together with the goal of putting time into their nearest competitors.
The closest competitor going into Stage 9 was Cadel Evans, wearing the yellow jersey. On the slopes of the Madeleine, Evans looked bad. Really bad.
There is no wonder he looked so bad; as after the stage it was revealed he was riding with a broken elbow from a crash in Stage 8. The team decided to downplay the injury.
Somewhere along the way, Evans had bitter words with Armstrong. The peloton was criticized for not waiting for Armstrong when he crashed. Which brings up a good question – why didn’t they wait? What are the social rules of order for waiting for a rider that has crashed? I’ve seen stages in the past where riders have crashed on a mountain stage and the main contenders waited for each other so that it could be a race of strength rather than misfortune. Apparently the rules have lots of gray areas.
Yes, now Schleck is in yellow and has delivered notice to Contador that it is up to his team to take it away.
Is this it? Are the Tour results essentially decided now? Schleck and Contador have been assigned podium positions by many members of the media. They say that the only things to be decided in the next two weeks is the order of spot one and two; and who will fill third place.
What do you think – is the GC race finished?