Andy Schleck Climbs to Stage 8 Win in 2010 Tour de France and Cadel Evans Takes Overall Tour Lead

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07/11/2010| 0 comments
by AP, with additional commentary by Roadcycling.com
Cadel Evans (Team BMC Racing) now leads the 2010 Tour de France. Photo copyright Fotoreporter Sirotti.
Cadel Evans (Team BMC Racing) now leads the 2010 Tour de France. Photo copyright Fotoreporter Sirotti.

Andy Schleck Climbs to Stage 8 Win in 2010 Tour de France and Cadel Evans Takes Overall Tour Lead

World champion Cadel Evans (Team BMC Racing) took the yellow jersey at the end of the stage, with overnight leader Sylvain Chavanel - like Armstrong - falling behind the top contenders on the tough La Ramaz climb.

Lance Armstrong (Team RadioShock) said his hopes of Tour de France victory are finished after he struggled in the Alps and was caught up in three crashes during today's stage eight of the Tour de France 2010 won by Andy Schleck of Luxembourg and Team Saxo Bank.

World champion Cadel Evans (Team BMC Racing) took the yellow jersey at the end of the stage, with overnight leader Sylvain Chavanel - like Armstrong - falling behind the top contenders on the tough La Ramaz climb.

The Texan crossed the finish line nearly 12 minutes behind Schleck after the 117.4-mile run from Station des Rousses to the Morzine-Avoriaz ski resort.

"My Tour is finished," Armstrong, who holds a record seven Tour victories and is riding in what he says will be his last try in cycling's showcase event,  told Roadcycling.com after the finish. The 38-year-old plunged to 39th place overall.

Armstrong said he had a "very, very bad day," but will continue the three-week race that ends July 25 in Paris.

Schleck showed he's one of the world's best climbers by surging to the head of the pack with less than a mile left and winning a two-man sprint ahead of Samuel Sanchez of Spain.

Schleck, the Saxo Bank team leader, clocked 4 hours, 54 minutes, 11 seconds, while Sanchez had the same time.

Dutch rider Robert Gesink was third, 10 seconds back -- as were defending champion Alberto Contador of Spain, and Evans.

Armstrong was 11:45 back, in 61st place.

Cadel Evans, a two-time Tour de France runner-up, leads Schleck by 20 seconds overall and Contador by 61 seconds. Schleck was runner-up last year.

Armstrong is 13:26 back, having begun the day in 14th place, 3:16 behind Chavanel.

With about 12 miles to go, shortly after La Ramaz, Armstrong was held up by a rider who crashed in front of him. Though the Texan did not fall, he was slow to get back on his bike, showing exasperation at his third mishap.

Earlier, with less than 32 miles to go, Armstrong tumbled to the asphalt while trying to negotiate a roundabout along with the pack. His team quickly got him another bike and he returned to the race with the back of his jersey and his bib numbers torn.

"I clipped the pedal and then my tire rolled off," Armstrong said. "Then, the next thing I know, I was rolling along the ground, at 60-65 [kilometers] an hour."

He said it was just too tough to clamber back after that.

Armstrong then struggled up the steepest portion of La Ramaz, losing crucial time to his main rivals, Schleck, Contador and Evans.

An earlier incident involving Armstrong and occurred at about 4 miles. Armstrong narrowly averted a spill but still lost time, while Evans fell, ripping his shorts and scraping his elbow and knees.

Team BMC Racing's Cadel Evans said the crash made for a dramatic day. "I didn't have time to react. I went down pretty hard on my left side. Fortunately, my legs didn't take it. I took it all in my

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