Aussie Cadel Evans took the overall lead in the Tour de France on Monday after a punishing 10th stage through the Pyrenees. His surge to the front came a day after he tumbled over his handlebars, leaving him with a cracked helmet and a body coated with cuts. He feared his Tour de France was over.
“Yesterday, I was at what’s for me been my Tour low,” he said. “And today, up until this point in the Tour, it’s been my Tour high. It’s a bit an emotional roller coaster to say the least.”
The 31-year-old Silence Lotto leader, a favorite going into the race, seized the lead from Kim Kirchen of Luxembourg in a stage won by Leonardo Piepolo of Italy on Bastille Day. Evans has the smallest possible lead—one second—over Frank Schleck of Luxembourg as the race takes a rest day Tuesday.
With nine riders within 2 1/2 minutes of Evans, the Tour appears wide open and poised for more racing drama at a time when organizers hope to get past the doping scandals that have battered the sport’s image.
Piepolo won the 97-mile stage from Pau to Hautacam by shedding all rivals except his Saunier Duval teammate Juan Jose Cobo Acebo of Spain on the final uphill climb to the ski station.
Evans rode with pain all the way following his spill Sunday in the first stage in the Pyrenees.
Results, stage 10
1. Leonardo Piepoli SAUNIER DUVAL – SCOTT in 4:19:27
2. Juan Jose Cobo Acebo SAUNIER DUVAL – SCOTT at s.t.
3. Frank Schleck TEAM CSC SAXO BANK in 4:19:55 at 00:28
4. Bernhard Kohl GEROLSTEINER in 4:20:33 at 01:06
5. Vladimir Efimkin AG2R-LA MONDIALE in 4:21:32 at 02:05
6. Riccardo Ricco SAUNIER DUVAL – SCOTT in 4:21:44 at 02:17
7. Carlos Sastre TEAM CSC SAXO BANK in 4:21:44 + 02′ 17″
8. Cadel Evans SILENCE – LOTTO in 4:21:44 + 02′ 17″
9. Denis Menchov RABOBANK in 4:21:44 + 02′ 17″
10. Christian Vandevelde GARMIN CHIPOTLE in 4:21:44 + 02′ 17″
Overall, after Stage 10
1. Cadel Evans SILENCE – LOTTO in 42:29:09
2. Frank Schleck TEAM CSC SAXO BANK in 42:29:10 at 00:01
3. Christian Vandevelde GARMIN CHIPOTLE in 42:29:47 at 00:38
4. Bernhard Kohl GEROLSTEINER in 42:29:55 at 00:46
5. Denis Menchov RABOBANK in 42:30:06 at 00:57
6. Carlos Sastre TEAM CSC SAXO BANK in 42:30:37 at 01:28
7. Kim Kirchen TEAM COLUMBIA in 42:31:05 at 01:56
8. Juan Jose Cobo Acebo SAUNIER DUVAL – SCOTT in 42:31:19 at 02:10
9. Riccardo Ricco SAUNIER DUVAL – SCOTT in 42:31:38 at 02:29
10. Vladimir Efimkin AG2R-LA MONDIALE in 42:31:41 at 02:32