Le Monetier-Les-Bains, France: Andy Schleck won the 18th Stage of the Tour de France in a dazzling solo breakway attack in the Alps on Thursday, while Thomas Voeckler barely held onto the overall leader`s yellow jersey.
Schleck attacked his main rivals on the second of three grueling climbs and led all the way up 14.2 miles to the highest-altitude finish in the race`s 108-year history on the fabled Galibier pass.
French cyclist Voeckler was 2:21 behind, keeping his overall lead by a mere 15 seconds from Andy Schleck. Frank Schleck is third overall, 1:08 back. Three-time champion Alberto Contador was the day`s biggest loser, trailing in 15th place — 3:50 behind.
Frank Schleck was second on Thursday behind his brother, trailing by 2 minutes, 7 seconds, and Cadel Evans of Australia was third over the 125-mile route from Pinerolo.
Overall, Contador trails Voeckler by 4:44 in seventh place.
Andy Schleck, the Leopard Trek team leader, came in knowing that he would need to gain time on rivals ahead of Saturday`s time trial — a discipline that`s not his specialty.
On Friday, the pack faces the last of three days in the Alps. It again features an uphill finish at the renowned and dreaded Alpe d`Huez.