The 2011 Tour de France saw battle after battle on this last mountain stage. Ultimately, though, Frenchman Pierre Rolland took control of the race within the final few kilometers to the finish line at the Alpe d'Huez. This was his first victory in the Tour de France.
Alberto Contador early on challenged the others racers, taking chances that, according to VERSUS' announcers, hadn't been seen since the 1960s and 1970s. He was battling Andy and Frank Schleck as well as Cadel Evans at that point. He did drop back, but he took over the race when he made his way up toward the summit on the Alpe d'Huez to win the stage. Rolland took advantage over Contador on a late turn to take the lead. Contador finish in third (+0:23), behind Rolland and Samuel Sanchez (+0:14).
Cadel Evans rook fifth place in the stage, finishing with Peter Velits at +0:57. The Schleck Bros. finished 57 seconds behind Rolland as well. Ryder Hesjedal and Tom Danielson of Team Garmin-Cervelo finished 10th (+1:15) and 11th (+1:15), respectively.
Thomas Voeckler lost the maillot jaune to Andy Schleck, losing three minutes on the stage, but he toughed it out across the entire course. Schleck, who took first on the Col du Galibier over Contador, now leads by 53 seconds over brother Frank.
The top 10 leaderboard:
1. Andy Schleck 82:48:43
2. Frank Schleck +0:53
3. Cadel Evans +0:57
4. Thomas Voeckler +2:10
5. Damiano Cunego +3:31
6. Alberto Contador 3:55
7. Samuel Sanchez +4:22
8. Ivan Basso +4:40
9. Tom Danielson +7:11
10. Pierre Rolland +8:57
The riders will take part in a individual time trial at Grenoble on Saturday before they make their way into Paris on Sunday for the finale.
For in-depth coverage of the race, visit out cycling blog, Podium Cafe, and our SB Nation StoryStream.