Cadel Evans was set to become the first Australian to win the Tour de France after leapfrogging the Schleck brothers.
Tour de France contenders Frank and Andy Schleck have described the final descent of the 17th stage to Pinerolo as "fatally dangerous".
Norway's Edvald Boasson Hagen claimed his maiden Tour de France win when he powered to victory in the sixth stage on Thursday.
Winds and half-empty stands gave no sense of the usual Parisian glamour as last year's French Open runner-up Samantha Stosur began with an easy win.
A year after taking the opportunity to show his strength to win the Tour de France, Alberto Contador claimed his third title by hiding his weaknesses.
Andy Schleck must produce the time trial ride of his career in Saturday's penultimate Tour de France stage if he is to deny Spaniard Alberto Contador.
Alberto Contador grabbed the Tour de France's yellow jersey on Monday after a broken chain slowed down Andy Schleck.
Tour de France leader Andy Schleck said his main rival, Alberto Contador, should be worried after failing to shake him off in Sunday's 14th stage.
Lance Armstrong was looking forward to the end of the Tour de France and it came much sooner than expected.
The usual suspects for honours are likely to be cautious when the Tour de France enters the Alps on Sunday but the mind games have already started.