Cadel Evans, an enigmatic 34-year-old former mountain biker, trounced the Schleck brothers Saturday, all but giving Australia its first Tour de France win.
Evans finished second in the 20th stage, a 26.5-mile time trial suited to the strokes and aerodynamic positions he has honed for years. Months ago, he had practiced the undulating route in the Alpine city of Grenoble, and he raced it in June.
"After racing the Dauphine [in June], I realized that if you come here with good legs after three weeks of the Tour, you can really do some damage," Evans said. "It's a very tough course for a final time trial."
Andy Schleck, who held a 57-second overall lead on Saturday morning, finished 17th in the stage, two minutes, 38 seconds back. The 26-year-old had checked out the route only that morning. He will finish second, 1:34 back, in the Tour for the third consecutive year. Frank, his brother, will finish third, 2:30 behind.
Thomas Voeckler, who captured the hearts of his countrymen by leading the race for 10 days, is fourth, and defending champ Alberto Contador, fifth.
Tomorrow's ride into Paris is ceremonial, a champagne-toasted merit badge for the 167 of 198 riders completing the 2,143-mile race, except for a sprint finish down the Champs-Elysees.