Tour de France leader Alberto Contador has issued an apology to rival Andy Schleck after seemingly capitalising on the Saxo Bank rider’s chain problems on the Port de Bales (stage 15) which ultimately relieved Schleck of the race lead.

Schleck had launched at attack on Contador in the final 3km of the climb, but unshipped his chain whilst changing gear. As he dismounted to fix the problem, Contador, Denis Menchov and Samuel Sanchez appeared to accelerate and ride away from Schleck. 

The trio then sped down Port de Bales to come across the line 39 seconds ahead of the furious Schleck, and put Contador in the yellow jersey.

The unwritten rule is that rivals should not attack the race leader if they are suffering from a mechanical problem. Contador said immediately afterwards that he hadn’t realised Schleck had suffered a mechanical. The Spaniard has drawn a lot of criticism for the action and has felt moved to broadcast an apology.

“Today I made the podium, and I am happy about that,” said Contador in the video shot from his hotel room. “But there’s a problem with the circumstances. Just when I attacked, Andy had a mechanical problem on the last climb.”

“The race was on and maybe I made a mistake. I’m sorry.”

“In these moments all you think about is to go as fast as you can,” continued Contador. “I’m disappointed in the sense that fair play is very important, as I did in the stage to Spa when both Andy and Frank got unhitched from the group, I didn’t hesitate to stop the peloton until they could re-join.”

“I received much criticism from people for doing that after the cobblestons stage when after teh fall the pack was cut and Andy took advantage of me.”

“I don’t like things like what happened today, I’m not like that, and I hope the relationship that I have with Andy can go back to being as good as it was before this happened.”

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Tour de France 2010: Stage reports



Stage 15: Victorious Voeckler continues fine Franch Tour as Contador takes yellow jersey



Stage 14: Riblon hangs on in Pyrenees to give France fourth stage win



Stage 13: Vino returns to top of Tour after doping ban



Stage 12: Rodriguez wins as Contador attacks



Stage 11: Cavendish bags third stage win but lead out man kicked out of Tour



Stage 10: Cavendish bags third stage win but his lead-out man is kicked out of race



Stage 10: Paulinho claims narrow stage victory on Bastille day



Stage nine: Casar wins stage as Schleck and Contador go head-to-head



Stage seven: Chavanel wins stage and takes overall as Thomas drops out of Tour’s white



Stage six: Cavendish makes it two as Tour hots up



Stage five: Cavendish wins his first stage of Tour



Stage four: Petacchi wins into Reims



Stage three: Hushovd takes dramatic win; Thomas second on stage and GC



Stage three live coverage: As it happened



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 15 photo gallery



Stage 14 photo gallery



Stage 13 photo gallery



Stage 12 photo gallery



Stage 11 photo gallery



Stage 10 photo gallery



Stage nine photo gallery



Stage eight photo gallery



Tour 2010 wallpaper



Stage seven photo gallery



Stage six photo gallery



Stage five photo gallery



Stage four photo gallery



Stage three photo gallery



Stage two photo gallery



Stage one gallery



Prologue photo gallery

Tour de France 2010: Videos



Stage 15 video highlights



Stage 14 video highlights



Stage 13 video highlights



Stage 12 video highlights



Stage 11 video highlights



Stage 10 video highlights



Stage nine video highlights



Stage eight video highlights



Stage seven video highlights



Stage six video highlights



Stage five video highlights



Stage four video highlights



Stage three video highlights



Stage two video highlights



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

 

  • Maria

    It was Andys big mistake, even an amateur will not do that, an amateur knows better that andy to change gear and dont dismounted to fix the problem.Contador was responding to the attack and was going to fast, when your heart is going like that you cant just stop.also Samu and Menchov were attacking so Contador was responding to that too. its not an ” unwritting rule” …one thing its cyclers falling over cause a motor bike or something external to the race,other thing is have a bike problem or felling sick,thats its when they dont have to wait for you…or did not Merckx or pulidor,Anquetil or Armstrong attack under similar circumstances and won tours because of that?the french used to boo Merckx by the way.the smart and stronger wins,bad luck Andy. .Alberto shouldn’t say sorry and made that stupid video.its common knowledge that french and spanish dont like each other,they hate seen an spaniard wining the tour fot 5th time in a raw.they boo Delgado and Ocaña,they made tours anti Indurain,they boo Nadal and now Contador.Hinault, Bernard, Jalabert, Bruyneel, Delgado, Rijs,Perurena…thinks Contador did nothing wrong.The only real gentleman was Indurain,no doubt.

  • katie

    Give over Contador, you are just a big girls blouse, you are paid to win, Schleck is just losing a dream thats all and this is all the result of him believing the hype.

  • Chris

    I was trying to explain this situation to a motor sport fan of mine who coul dnot understand this ‘unwritten rule’. I admit I was stumped as to how to defend it when he pointed out “.. so in F1 if Hamilton had a mechanical problem should Webber ease up during a Grand Prix?”.

  • kadir

    Lets not forget that both Menchov and Sanchez both took advantage of Schlecks mechanical as well , Schleck already had his foot on the ground as they sped past and put the hammer down.