The opening, relatively flat part of the Tour ended earlier this week, and today (Thursday) was the first day with significant climbing activity. And Leopard Trek's strategy began to crystallize, to some degree.
The flatter stages ended with three LT teams members in the Top 10; that was a very respectable showing in the general classification; the team itself was ranked near the very top. Today's mountainous stage in the Pyrenees showed the strength and depth of the team, as they began to put forth their effort, which demonstrated the strategy I figured they were using: use the mountains to distance themselves (team-wise) from the other teams. This is where the rubber meets the road.
The Schleck brothers had a great day, with Frank moving into second place overall in the general classification, and Andy into fourth overall. However, the biggest news is that Team Leopard Trek are now in First Place in the team classification! Whereas they used to trail the first-place team by mere single-digit seconds, they now sit 1'05" (one minute, five seconds) ahead of the second place team. I expect that gap to widen more over the next few days.
There were attacks and counter-attacks; LT kept strategy in front of them at all times, and it paid off.