France — Garmin-Slipstream rider Bradley Wiggins put on a spectacular show of courage to maintain his fourth place standing on the grueling penultimate stage of the Tour de France on Saturday. Wiggins battled with the world’s best climbers on the summit finish to Mont Ventoux, eventually finishing tenth on the stage with a slim 3-second advantage in the general classification over Luxembourger Frank Schleck.
Spaniard Juan Manuel Garate won Stage 20, a 178k race from Montelimar to the barren summit of Mont Ventoux. Alberto Contador defended the yellow jersey with just one stage remaining, Sunday’s race to Paris.
The Garmin-Slipstream squad rode a smart, aggressive race, working to keep Wiggins and American Christian Vande Velde in contention for the showdown on Mont Ventoux, where Saturday’s stage finished. Vande Velde also rode impressively, maintaining his overall standing of eighth place. The team will roll into Paris on Sunday with a successful Tour de France campaign that includes two riders in the top-10 overall plus a host of impressive stage finishes by the young American sprinter Tyler Farrar.
TOUR DE FRANCE STAGE 20 RESULTS
Montelimar to Mont Ventoux, 178km
1. Juan Manuel Garate (Spa), Rabobank, 4:39:21
2. Tony Martin (Ger), Columbia-HTC, at 0:03
3. Andy Schleck (Lux), Saxo Bank, at 0:38
4. Alberto Contador (Spa), Astana, at 0:38
5. Lance Armstrong (USA), Astana, at 0:41
10. Bradley Wiggins (GB), Garmin-Slipstream, at 1:03
16. Christian Vande Velde (USA), Garmin-Slipstream, at 2:34
OVERALL STANDINGS AFTER STAGE 20
1. Alberto Contador (Spa), Astana, 81:46:17
2. Andy Schleck (Lux), Saxo Bank, at 4:11
3. Lance Armstrong (USA), Astana, at 5:24
4. Bradley Wiggins (GB), Garmin-Slipstream, at 6:01
5. Frank Schleck (Lux), Saxo Bank, at 6:04
8. Christian Vande Velde (USA), Garmin-Slipstream, at 12:04