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Yellow jersey hangs in the balance ahead of Tourmalet centenary

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-07-22

Defending champion Alberto Contador will fight to preserve a slender eight-second lead over Luxembourg's Andy Schleck on Thursday in the Tour de France's 17th stage, a gruelling 174km ride from Pau to the famed summit of Tourmalet.

AFP- To see the 2010 Tour de France decided on the slopes of the Tourmalet, the first mountain featured in the race a century ago, is probably what the organisers had in mind.

Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck will play the lead roles later on Thursday as they battle it out in the 174-km 17th stage from Pau which finishes at the top of one of the race's most famous summits.

Spaniard Contador takes an eight-second advantage over his Luxembourg rival into the last Pyrenees stage which also comprises two classic first category mountain passes, Marie-Blanque and Soulor.

"The Tour will be decided on the Tourmalet. The first man at the top will win the Tour", said Schleck who must attack to have any chance of bringing down defending champion Contador.

While the Tourmalet has been climbed 75 times before, only one previous stage has finished at the summit when Frenchman Jean-Pierre Danguillaume won in 1974.

Date created : 2010-07-22

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