Tour de France to be decided over 42.5 kilometers

Grenoble, France: After nearly 3,500 kilometers on the road the outcome of the Tour de France will boil down to a 42.5 km time trial around Grenoble in the penultimate stage on Saturday.

Only three men are left in contention -- yellow jersey holder Andy Schleck of Luxembourg, his brother Frank, who trails him by 53 seconds, and Australia`s Cadel Evans, 57 seconds back.

On paper, Evans, the 2009 road world champion, is a far better specialist against the clock but leader Schleck believes that will not prove significant.

"Cadel is about a minute behind. It`s a lot. And after 20 days of racing, a time trial is not the same," said Schleck, adding that the yellow jersey would give him "wings."

"I`m confident I can keep it until Paris. This is the only stage I did not check out, I saw it on video and I will see it tomorrow. I hope to show a good performance tomorrow," added the Tour runner-up for the past two years.

Evans is more familiar with the course as it was used in the Criterium du Dauphine race in June when he finished sixth in the stage won by Germany`s Tony Martin.

"I don`t know about winning the Tour. We`ll see tomorrow. I`ll try to ride as fast as possible," he said.

True time trial specialists can hope to steal the show and go for a stage victory, even if they might be worn out after some brutal days in the mountains.

Martin, Swiss Olympic and world champion Fabian Cancellara as well as Briton David Millar will be among the favourites for the day`s laurels.

Bureau Report

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