Now that Fabian Cancellara’s week in the maillot jaune is over, it was up to the general classification ‘leaders’ of the RadioShack-Nissan team to take the helm. However, Fränk Schleck excused himself of the sole leadership role before even arriving at the Tour and cemented this position following a dismal opening prologue and losing considerable time on stage six. Thankfully Cancellara’s resolve over the past week has lifted the performance of the team which had, up until the Tour, failed to deliver to deliver significant results.
Stage seven didn't go to plan for the RadioShack-Nissan team. As expected Cancellara lost contact with the Sky-lead group on the final climb but it was the performance of the team's key riders that was disappointing. Schleck waited for Andreas Klöden when the two were dropped on the final climb but Schleck could not coax the German into holding his pace. The Luxembourger then continued at his own tempo but couldn’t catch his two teammates Haimar Zubeldia and Maxime Monfort who were clearly riding much stronger than the trailing duo. Klöden ended the day 2:19 back on the winner and nearly a minute behind Schleck while Zubeldia and Monfort finished inside the top-ten.
"I had bad legs and have no real explanation for it, I had felt it in the early part of the stage," said Klöden on his team website.
With Sunday’s stage set to test the peloton over seven categorised climbs it will be interesting to see who falls back to the team car for refreshments. Zubeldia and Monfort are sitting in sixth (0:59) and seventh (1:09) respectively heading into the eighth stage but there is still many more days to come. Klöden and Schleck may have endured a tough day but if Schleck can recover from his fall in stage six then he may still be able to animate the terrain in which he dominated so recently in the Tour de Suisse.
"I saw that Klöden had problems and was waiting for him because I wanted to help him. I thought I would be able to bring him back, I think I was on the last kilometres very strong, but my pain, I have since the fall, today was a hard day. I'm confident for the coming stages," said Schleck on his team website.