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It's looking more like a two horse race in the Tour De France after stunning uphill stage climbs by Reigning champion Alberto Contador and Luxembourg's Andy Schleck. The riders blew away the field with a devastating exhibition of power riding up stage 9's famed Col de la Madeleine mountain.
The torturous route, alongside the Tourmalet in the Pyrenees, are the toughest climbs in this year's Tour. A 12-man breakaway managed to build a decent lead of almost seven minutes as the action neared the final climb of the day. unsurprisingly, the mountain destroyed all but the best riders.
Race leader and yellow jersey wearer, Cadel Evans was one the first to crack as he failed to keep up with the pace. As many predicted before this Tour began, reigning champion Contador and Andy Schleck once again locked horns, displaying incredible strength before destroying their rivals in the process. Despite a number of concerted attacks, Schleck couldn't shake Contador as the pair eventually settled down to work together in their pursuit of the breakaway.
And the two caught the breakaway in the final kilometer. In coming home seventh, Schleck comfortably takes possession of the race leader's yellow jersey. He leads Contador by 41 seconds in a race that is now almost certainly going to be fought out between the riders.
But crossing the finishing line more than eight minutes behind the stage winner, Evans was left in tears at the realization.