The last three stages in the Alps have been tremendous, with some heart stopping moments, including some awesome descents, a few crashes and miscues, and some great climbing.
Final stage in the mountains finished at Alpe d'Huez after that monumental climb - 21 hairpin bends to hell!! At that moment a young Frenchman won the stage [ Pierre Rolland] bolting away with Contador vanquished after publicly stating he wanted to win there. Andy Schleck seemed absolutely spent at the finish. And Cadel Evans the hope of Australia finishing not very far behind the stage winner, and looking not spent. Evans was 57 secs behind Andy Schleck in the GC [ General Classification], the new Yellow Jersey wearer.
Many thought it might be be over for Evans again, relegated to a placegetter in the Tour.
What a time trial though. Even bunny hopped a few of the road speed bumps [ isn't that what all mountain bike riders do anyway?], and was immensely smooth all through the ride. Seven seconds behind Tony Martin the time trial stage winner, and a comfortable two minute plus margin over both Schlek brothers - and Cadel is now in the Maillot Jeune as winner - elect for the final stage into Paris.!
The first Australian to win a grand Tour - the Tour de France. Cycling's Everest, probably the most prestigious individual sporting win in the world. Blows away major tennis and golf events, world chess titles, Olympic gold medals and whatever else. WOW! WHAT A WIN!
As an individual event winner, at least matches that Australian win in the America's Cup in 1983, which really was a team and machine win. What a win!
He still has to finish the stage on Sunday, but it is traditional that a clear winner of the Tour is given a gentleman's ride to the finish. Do not forget to watch though.........the sprint up the Champs Elysee is a great sight to watch. Mark Cavendish to win??
[ photo copyright the Australian ]
Watch the follow up summaries coming too........the first on tv on Monday night.