Tour de France '07 Stage 19: Cognac - Angouleme

Note: travel/vacation day, limited coverage

It was an amazing finish with all three of the top riders delivering the time trials of their careers. Levi Leipheimer, who's ridden near the top but never ahead this Tour, started almost a minute behind Cadel Evans. Levi delivered a smashing time trial, winning the stage and having us audience members thinking that he might have closed the gap with Evans. Evans rode strong over the final distance, pulling on the handlebars in the final straight to just save his second place podium spot. Alberto Contador, climber not time trialer, saved his yellow jersery and held off both Evans and Leipheimer.

Discovery Channel had an amazing day with Lance in attendance. They finished 1-4-5-7 on the stage and will head into the final Paris stage tomorrow in 1-3 overall. Levi will start 8" behind Evans, so the final standings are not settled yet. Contador has a 23" lead and should be able to cruise to the top podium spot tomorrow.

Preview links:

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Today's final decisive stage has approached with dread rather than excitement as yet-another doping rumor quashed the buildup of anticipation of the showdown between Contador and Evans. A flat time trial tips the balance in favor of Evans

CyclingNews Stage 19 Preview: The second and final race of truth at the 2007 Tour is a long flat individual time trial that could decide the winner of the race if the GC standings are close. With long, wide straight roads, stage 19 is for a true time trial specialist, but the riders who are in contention for the 2007 Tour title will have to have good legs on a course that requires a lot of power and concentration.

Prediction: Cancellara first, Evans second. Contador loses yellow and drops to third.

related articles: Tour de France 2007
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