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Schleck wants yellow jersey on Tourmalet

other Updated: Jul 21, 2010 23:47 IST
AFP
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Andy Schleck is planning to launch an attack on Tour de France rival Alberto Contador to take back the yellow jersey on the legendary Col du Tourmalet on Thursday.

And the Luxemburger, who lost the race lead to Contador on Monday after an untimely mechanical problem, is even prepared to risk his podium chances if it means going one better than his runner-up place to Contador in 2009.

Going into the final day of climbing on Thursday's tough stage 17, Schleck has an eight-second deficit to Contador.

Although Saturday's penultimate stage time-trial over 52km will also play a deciding role, Saxo Bank climber Schleck knows time is not on his side.

Contador is usually far stronger than Schleck in the race against the clock, leaving the Luxemburger with the job of finishing Thursday's 174km stage, which finishes with an 18.6km slog to the summit of Tourmalet, with Contador at least a minute in arrears.

Any less, and Schleck said his chances would look slim.

“I'm sure I can do a good time-trial, but I won't beat Alberto in that domain,” Schleck said.

“What's sure is I have to have the yellow jersey before the time-trial if I want to win in Paris. With one minute (advantage) I'd be happy, though of course I'd prefer to have two minutes. But I think the guy who has the yellow jersey tomorrow (Thursday) will have it in Paris.”

Stage 17 features the Col du Marie-Blanque and the Col du Soulor, both category one climbs, before the long slog to the uncategorised Tourmalet.

Contador said: “It's a really tough stage, and I'm sure there will be significant time gaps.”

Schleck believes that despite the hilly profile of stage 17, the Tourmalet will host the real battle.

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