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Schleck wins 18th stage of Tour de France

Updated: July 21, 2011, 12:19


Thomas Voeckler of France, wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey, , and Rigoberto Uran of Colombia, wearing the best young rider's white jersey, lead the pack during the start of the 18th stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 200.5 kilometers (124.6 miles) starting in Pinerolo, Italy, and finishing on Galibier pass, Alps region, France, Thursday July 21, 2011. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

LE MONETIER-LES-BAINS, France (AP) 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.

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