stage 17

Contador’s tactics cost his teammates

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Great stage by Hesjedal today. The Victoria native raced to a strong 26th place finish in the hardest stage of the Tour, only 7’47” off a nasty pace that crossed over four fierce Category 1 climbs. This was a goodbye to the French Alps and Ryder has scratched his way back up to 56th overall. Tomorrow is the Lac d’Annecy time trial.

Back to the race leaders …

In the midst of a very tactical race today, Alberto Contador mystified most TdF watchers with a weird and unnecessary attack on the Schleck Bros. Nice brain cramp Alberto.

Star News Services

LE GRAND BORNAND, France | Alberto Contador has survived every significant threat to his yellow jersey this week. On Wednesday, his odd racing tactics posted a threat to his team.

Contador possibly cost teammates440-contador_armstrong_07-23-2009_U81AM887.embedded.prod_affiliate.81 Lance Armstrong and Andreas Kloden a spot on the podium next to him on Sunday in Paris.

At issue was why Contador, while ascending the last of the stage’s six climbs, decided to attack with little to gain.

His acceleration dropped his fatigued teammate Kloden, effectively isolating Contador against two rivals — brothers Andy and Frank Schleck — who took advantage of the situation and quickened the pace on everyone. At the end of the day, Contador widened his overall lead, but at a cost to Armstrong and Kloden, who had been in second and fourth place going into the 17th stage.

We could have been one, two, three after today,” said Johan Bruyneel, Astana’s team director. “Now we are one, four and five.