Frank Schleck Wins Stage 17 Of 2009 Tour De France
LE GRAND BORNAND, FRANCE - Frank Schleck of Luxembourg, riding for the Saxo Bank cycling team, won the Stage 17 race on Wednesday of the 2009 Tour De France, whose finish was in the town of Le Grand Bornand, France. Stage 17 is considered by many to be the most diificult of the Tour De France stages, due to the six significant climbs that make up the course over a distance of 169.5 km. The race started today at Bourg-Saint Maurice in France and the riders immediately had to start a climb of over 1038 metres during a distance of 18 km to the summit at Cormet de Roselend (1968 m). theirEarth took this photo of Stage 17 winner, Frank Schleck, at the Stage 1 start in Monaco "Le Grand Départ".
Frank Schleck's excellent finishing result today moves him up to second overall in the 2009 Tour De France Standings, 2 min 26 seconds behind overall yellow jersey race leader Spain's Alberto Contador, riding for the Astana cycling team, and who finished second today in the Stage 17 race. Andy Schleck, Frank's brother, was third today just behind Contador. With the Stage 17 results, American Lance Armstrong's overall Tour De France race position moved down to fourth, and put him 3 min 55 seconds behind the overall race leader, his Astana teammate Contador.
Stage 17 today culminated in a sprint to the finish as Contador and the Schleck brothers each took turns racing downhill from the summit at Col de la Colombiere, over a distance of 15 kms and descending with speed from 1618 metres to 948 metres, where they finished in the village of Le Grand-Bornand. In the end it was Frank Schleck's race strategy that prevailed as he crossed the Le Grand-Bornand finish line ahead of Contador to win Stage 17.
Tomorrow (Thursday, July 23) is the Stage 18 Tour De France race, and it starts in Annecy, France, and is a time trial format race of 40.5 km distance, finishing back in the town of Annecy. The race will favour the sprinters, and Britain's Mark Cavendish is a considered high up on the list as a potential winner of tomorrow's Stage 18 race.
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