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.