Tour de France 2010: Contador, Schleck Set for Time Trial Duel

Defending champion Alberto Contador will try to cement his second-straight Tour de France title in Saturday’s 19th stage individual time trial race from Bordeaux to Pauillac, even as second-running Andy Schleck hopes to pull a surprise on the penultimate day of the tour.

Contador leads Schleck by 8 seconds after they both finished with the same clocking in Friday’s 18th stage, which sprinter Mark Cavendish won for his fourth stage victory on the Tour this year. Contador, who has developed into a good time-trial rider over the last several years, will have the privilege of knowing how his competitors fared in the stage as he will ride last. The Spaniard, though, is not taking any chances. “This is a hard stage that comes after 20 days in the Tour… I will really have to fight a lot to win the stage and to defeat [Schleck],” Contador said. Schleck, on the other hand, remained confident despite acknowledging Contador’s advantage. “He’s better but I’m not bad, too. We’re going to see a battle.”

The Tour will conclude on Sunday, with the 20th stage going to Paris traditionally considered as nothing more than a formality.