Gilbert takes the first stage, Cadel puts over a minute on Contador & Schleck

Phillipe Gibert followed an attack by Fabian Cancellara to take the first stage of the 2011 Tour de France. Cadel Evans followed the move and put more than 1:20 into Schleck and Contador after they were caught up in a crash about nine-kilometers from the finish.

The Tour cannot be won the first day but it can be lost. Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck should have known to be up front with a steep catergory-four climb at today’s finish. Both BMC and Radio Shack had their leaders at the front and Evans was able to take advantage.

This entry was posted in Alberto Contador, Andy Schleck, Fabian Cancellara, Tour de France and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Gilbert takes the first stage, Cadel puts over a minute on Contador & Schleck

  1. michael says:

    A little hard as comment, both Contador and Schleck were close enough to the front but with all teams working to pull their frontmen, couldn’t be quite close enough, especially so still so far off the finish. I’m pretty sure they were among the first to be pushed over as the guy who hit the spectator couldn’t have been more than about 15th at the time. It was just unlucky circumstances for those 2 but will make the overall TdF more exciting as it will level the field and not give either of them an advantage over each other, like last year when Contador had 1’13 or so to make up on Schleck initially. What the heck was that woman doing with her back turned at that moment and how come the first to hit her hadn’t seen her standing in the way he had a half clear line of sight, or did he see her and just think he’d not fall from brushing against her?

    • Todd Kinsey says:

      I don’t think Contador will have any problems because he climbs better than Evans. Contador and Cadel both TT well which is still a big problem for Schleck. Thanks for posting.

  2. michael says:

    Agree, Contador can even ouTT Cancellara if the profile isn’t too flat. On the one hand Contador gains due to mountains on the other he may not be 100% due to Giro but I get the feeling he never had to force himself there so he could well have stayed within his test limits. Today’s results were a little confusing at first as coverage didn’t say clearly what happened, I didn’t realise they fell in 2 seperate incidents, lucky for Andy he was within the 3k mark. Adds a little fun to the way things are playing out. Last year Andy gained 1’13 on Contador’s obstruction, this year he gets almost exactly that advantage again. If he doesn’t mess up and lose another 39′ dropping his chain then he and Contador might tie at 0 seconds difference if they both ride exactly like last year. What would decide the winner in such a case? It probably has never happened but is the situation foreseen in in the rules?

  3. Todd Kinsey says:

    Contador, like most of the great ones before him is arguably the best climber in the peloton and when he’s on form, is also the best time trialist .

    I am intrigued by the fact that Cadel has remained under the radar most of the year. The way he closed on Gilbert and flew past Cancellara might mean he’s on the best form of his career.

  4. michael says:

    He’s been less under the radar than Andy, that’s more intriguing, at least Cadel looks like he’s in form. I wish him the best but to be in the best form of his career at that age? He had a great time 2007/2008 and 2009, would be hard to return to that shape, even if experience allowed him to put all he could into the crucial month. Still, with Contador’s handicap and Giro and Andy maybe not in form we may even get an “unexpected” battle like Evans – Gesink, I tipped for a Holland-Spain world cup final months ahead, just got it the wrong way round.

  5. Todd Kinsey says:

    I think the tragedy that hit the Leopard Trek team had a big effect on the team’s training leading up to the Tour. I just hope we have a competitive race because the way Contador totally dominated the Giro makes it hard for me to believe he’s not on even better form for the Tour. The caveat to that is that he may have thought that he was going to be banned from this year’s Tour and peaked back in May. I guess we’ll know when they hit the mountains.

    Thanks for reading.

  6. michael says:

    Yes it should be interesting and the bookmakers are having to work overtime this year revising every day. Let’s hope there are no more crashes and breakdowns so the best man wins.

  7. Todd Kinsey says:

    Evans definitely made a statement today taking Contador at the line. Let’s not forget Lance was dominant until his late 30’s and Levi and Chris Horner are both riding well at 40.

  8. michael says:

    All true but by that time Lance was mainly dominant due to excellent team work and crew members. I don’t see Evans holding on on a long climb if Alberto goes for it. Regarding the Giro, you know, it’s hard to tell, it’s 2 months since probably the hardest week in recent cycling history but 2 months is long enough to recover if you do it well and you know what, once it’s done, that’s all good training in the bag for the next big job. The big question is, was he giving it 100% those days? His position and challangers didn’t make it neccessary, if he was at 100% then it was out of choice and he looked pretty relaxed doing it so maybe he’s not suffered as much as one would expect.

  9. michael says:

    Doesn’t always pay to be at the front, sad day, tour is losing too many names this year. One of the Schlecks is bound to fall at some point too.

  10. michael says:

    Jeez, who paid Karpets? It’s pretty obviously intentional when you see him move before and after.
    Moving over slowly to the right spot, a quick glance in AC’s direction and a good shove then riding on as if nothing but out of worry still having a quick glance right then left to check if he’d been spotted.
    And what kind of amateur was driving that TV car? Didn’t even stop.

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