Tour de France: Sandy Casar wins stage 18

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Friday, July 27, 2007

Sandy Casar in the 2007 Tour de Romandie.
Image: Ludo.

Sandy Casar of France has won stage 18 of the 2007 Tour de France in a time of 5h 13' 31". Axel Merckx came in second.

Sandy Casar, Alex Merckx, Laurent Lefevre, and Michael Boogerd took control of the stage with a break-away that gave them a 10-minute lead on the peleton.

Alberto Contador of Spain, who finished with the peleton keeps the yellow jersey. This 211 km long stage, with a few small climbs near the start, was considered by many as the last chance for any surprises.

Cadel Evans of Australia, who is second overall, shaved off 3 seconds of the advantage that Contador holds over him, by finishing in a smaller group that finished just ahead of the peleton.

"I hope I don't lose because of three seconds," said Contador. "This yellow jersey is very important. It's important that I have it tonight. I'm not a time-trial specialist but I'll do all I can not to lose one minute, 50 seconds."

Tomorrow's stage is the second time trial stage, with long straight stretches, some beautiful sections of unbending road, some slight inclines and again favours the soloists. It is 55.5 km long and runs from Cognac to Angoulême. Sunday, will be the grand finale, as the race enters Paris to complete the eight laps of the traditional circuit around the Champs-Élysées.

Meanwhile, former yellow jersey leader, Michael Rasmussen, insists that he did not lie about his whereabouts. "I feel I've won the Tour de France... but victory has been stolen from me." He also said that he will not retire, but continue his career.

Stage 18 result

Rank Rider Team Time
1 Sandy Casar Française des Jeux 5h 13'31"
2 Axel Merckx T-Mobile Team +01"
3 Laurent Lefevre AG2R Prévoyance s.t."
4 Michael Boogerd Rabobank s.t."
5 Tom Boonen Quick Step-Innergetic +8'34"
6 Robert Hunter Barloworld s.t."
7 Erik Zabel Team Milram s.t."
8 Sébastien Chavanel Française des Jeux s.t."
9 Bernhard Eisel T-Mobile Team s.t."
10 Thor Hushovd Crédit Agricole s.t."

General classification after stage 18

Rank Rider Team Time
1 Alberto Contador Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 86h 04' 16"
2 Cadel Evans Predictor-Lotto +1' 50"
3 Levi Leipheimer Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team +2' 49"
4 Carlos Sastre Team CSC +6' 02"
5 Haimar Zubeldia Euskaltel-Euskadi +6' 29"
6 Alejandro Valverde Caisse d'Epargne +10' 18"
7 Kim Kirchen T-Mobile Team +11' 36"
8 Yaroslav Popovych Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team +12' 47"
9 Mauricio Soler Barloworld +13' 31"
10 Mikel Astarloza Euskaltel-Euskadi +13' 42"