Andy Schleck found a way to laugh after a demanding Tour de France stage though the Belgian Ardennes. Hours earlier, on the run to Spa, he nearly lost his chance to win the race when he crashed crashed with Sky’s Bradley Wiggins and others.

“There was nothing to do, there was something like oil was on the road. I crashed and I couldn’t find my bike, so I got Matti Breschel’s bike. I went 100 metres further and I cashed again,” he told Cycling Weekly.

“I had crashed on the right side so I thought I got to get some scratches on the left too, otherwise I am going to look stupid.”

Schleck had not lost his humour or his chance to win the Tour de France. He saved the race with the help of his team-mates.

Breschel gave Schleck his bike and brother Fränk Schleck, Jens Voigt and other Saxo Bank rider hammered on the front. They pulled Schleck back into contention, on the back of the group with Wiggins, Alberto Contador and Lance Armstrong – who all also crashed.

“I think we were more or less all in the same situation,” added Schleck. “A big respect to the favourites that they did not want to take advantage of the situation. Chapeau.

“I was stuck on the ground for a long time. I had no bike, my bike went somewhere, I did not see it anymore.”

While Schleck struggled to get going, race leader and team-mate Fabian Cancellara slowed down the pace of the group ahead so his team could re-join. He lost the lead to France’s Sylvain Chavanel (Quick Step) in the process, but gave Schleck a fighting chance.

Schleck said that he believes he did not fracture any bones and added that he was able to chase back without too much pain.

He finished nearly four minutes behind Chavanel and is 85th overall, alongside other classification favourites, including Contador. The Luxembourg rider finished 4’11″ behind Spain’s Contador last year and is viewed as the favourite to beat him this year.

“I have to thank the whole team,” added Schleck, “because in one second you could see how the Tour could be over.”

Tour de France 2010: Latest news

The Feed Zone: News and views (July 5)

Sky banks on Thomas ahead of cobbled stage

Cavendish’s sprint train weakened with Hansen out

Armstrong under fire as Landis allegations reach mainstream

Team Sky’s decision to put Wiggins off early back fires

Millar and Thomas hold their nerve in Rotterdam rain

Armstrong defiant in wake of latest revelations

Thomas looks to prologue and sporting new stripes|

Florencio kicked out of Cervelo team on eve of Tour

Tour teams presented in Rotterdam: What the riders said

Andy Schleck faces rough ride over Tour cobbles

Riis: Tour is the goal for Schlecks despite sponsor problems

Armstrong on Arenberg: There will be carnage

Cavendish set for green jersey battle at the Tour

Hunt and Lloyd look forward to making their Tour debuts

Tour de France 2010: Stage reports



Stage two: Comeback man Chavanel takes victory in Spa



Stage one: Petacchi wins in Brussels as bunch left in tatters



Prologue: Cancellara pips Martin to win

Tour de France 2010: Photos



Stage two photo gallery



Stage one gallery



Prologue photo gallery

Tour de France 2010: Videos



Stage one video highlights



Prologue video highlights

Tour de France 2010: Race guide



Tour de France 2010: Cycling Weekly’s coverage index



Official start list, with race numbers



Brits at the Tour 2010



Tout team guide



Tour jerseys: What they are and what they mean



Brits in the Tours: From Robinson to Wiggins

Tour de France 2010: Pictures



Tour team presentation, Rotterdam



Tour teams take to the cobbles: Photo special

 

  • John Calliott

    Contador confirmed that it was his idea for the second group to wait for the Schlecks, as some were concerned about the danger men with Cancellara. That story also had a question mark about a moto possibly running out of gas and going down. I don’t know if that will prove to be the case.