Schleck says today is last chance to win Tour,
PAU, France — Andy Schleck knows he has one opportunity to win the Tour de France — on the climb up the Col du Tourmalet in the Pyrenees today.
He believes the fierce ascent at the end of the 17th stage is the only place he can wrest the yellow jersey from two-time champion Alberto Contador and put at least a minute between him and his Spanish rival going into the final weekend of the threeweek race.
“I will have to be in yellow. There’s only one chance to take it and that’s tomorrow,” Schleck said Wednesday. “With a minute, I would be happy. But if it’s more, that’s better.”
The Luxembourg rider is eight seconds behind the defending champion in the overall standings after Contador took the lead Monday.
The leading riders are unlikely to be able to make up time on each other in Friday’s flat stage, and Saturday’s stage is a time trial, a discipline in which Contador excels.
Contador and Schleck are not the only riders with a chance of overall glory. Spain’s Samuel Sanchez is two minutes behind compatriot Contador, and Denis Menchov of Russia is 13 seconds further back. That sort of gap could be bridged in such a big mountain stage.
As well as those looking for overall victory, there are a number of other riders seeking a victory on the Tourmalet. They include seven-time champion Lance Armstrong, who just missed out on a stage win in Tuesday’s hard mountain stage.
“It’s not yet finished,” said Johan Bruyneel, manager of Armstrong’s RadioShack team. “There’s a single (mountain) stage left (today). … We’re going to try again.”