The friendship between Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck ended on the Port de Balès today at the Tour de France. Contador flew by Schleck in his yellow jersey, who was struggling to get his bicycle to go after losing his chain.

Luxembourg’s Schleck said last Monday he had no enemies in the peloton and that he was friends with Contador, but today that changed.

“We are only here to bike race, let’s leave it at that,” said Schleck. “I asked him in there [behind podium], how can you do that?”

Schleck had distanced Contador with an attack three kilometres to the summit of the climb and only with 24.5 kilometres to race, but a stuck chain derailed his stage and possibly his Tour de France.

He led the race by 31 seconds and wore the leader’s yellow jersey going into the stage. However, the time he spent getting his bike going again allowed Spain’s Contador to ride clear with a known fast descender, Spaniard Samuel Sánchez.

A Spanish coup? Did Contador know that Schleck had a problem?

He passed Schleck at such a speed that he must have known something was wrong; in fact, he looked back several times to check the whereabouts of his rivals. And Schleck is not normally one to be distanced so easily.

“I had already attacked and I didn’t see Andy had lost his chain,” said Contador. “I wasn’t aware of it.”

The two-time Tour de France winner then reasoned he was right to attack even if Schleck had problems.

“It’s not the first time that someone lost a chain. These things happen in the race. It could happen to me tomorrow.

“We were all ahead. The others didn’t stop either.”

Besides Sánchez, Contador rode clear with Denis Menchov and then caught up with earlier escapees Francesco Reda and Luke Roberts. His group finished nearly three minutes behind stage winner Thomas Voeckler, but more importantly for Contador, 39 seconds ahead on Schleck.

Contador now holds the yellow jersey and leads the race by eight seconds.

“I would not have attacked,” responded Schleck when asked if he would have done the same thing.

“My stomach is full of anger,” he continued. “I want to take my revenge.”

He will have his chance in the next two Pyrenean mountain days: Pau tomorrow and the next stage, after a rest day, Col du Tourmalet on Thursday.

Schleck’s time gains will be important to win his first Tour de France. He faces a 52-kilometre time trial on Saturday, the day before the race ends, and Contador is typically a better rider in the speciality.

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Tour de France 2010: Stage reports



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 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 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

 

  • morry

    So many brainwashed people commenting here. In this particular case. There is no issue. Schelck attacked. Others Attacked: Menchov, Sánchez others. No one slows down for a loose chain. There is no issue of “fair play” You Bonk you lose. You fail to gear properly . Get a grip.

    When the attacks are on. its every one for themselves to catch attackers. You wait for NO ONE. History bears this out if you have followed racing for the past 40 years and you are not brain–washed by TV commentators .

  • zz

    Andy and Cancellara didnt wait for Contador but the day before Contador wait for Andy. As Jalabert and Bruynell said “Contador shouldnt wait for him, this is a competition one day your bike has mechanic problems other day you get sick” …the stronger and smart wins.Today Andy said that he is sorry for his complains as he didnt wait for Contador. Armstrong should shut his mouth,did he wait for Zulle or Beloki or Ullrich or Iban Mayo? the answer is no!!!

  • William

    @John Calliott and joseph sandoval. AC was not held up behind the Frank Schleck crash. Cancellara rode Contador off his wheel on the Pave. The huge difference between this situation and that situation is that on the pave Andy had already attacked, he was already up the road before the crashes started. In this case Alberto attacked because of the problem. Anyone who knows anything about cycling knows the huge difference. That’s why Contador didn’t complain after stage 3, he had no reason to. Furthermore, AC has apologised suggesting he himself is not happy with what he did. Go figure…

  • fresh

    Contador is a liar. He knew something had happened—Schleck was on the attack and suddenly stopped completely—Contador went right by him—so dont tell me you didnt see him have a problem- when you zoomed right by him when he was stopped.

  • Jonathan

    What a suprise from Contador, look at what team he rides for to start with. He’s showed no respect for the yellow jersey at all. As for him not knowing that Andy’s chain had come off……rubbish. I really hope that Andy wins this years tour now. I don’t support any team and was really looking forward to the last of the mountain stages. If he leads after teh mountains then I won’t bother watching the rest of the race. I hope if Contador wins the tour he sits down and watches a repeat of last nights stage and feels sorry for acting in the way he did….. but somehow I doubt he ever will.

  • Sandra

    Andy took his chain guard off for less weight on his bike – fair play? He obviously new the risks. Did he wait for Cadell when he crashed and broke his arm? like everyone did for Andy and Frank? Contador has stopped and waited 3 times for Andy, but Andy not once for Contador. As in comments, they all have radios and all would be informed, so all should look at everything. Andy in fairness should never have taken the risk of no chain guard, but he did, then expected the race to wait for him when he came unstuck- come ooonnnnn!

  • ken

    Contador – your Yellow Jersey’s got a stain on it !

  • Cavologuardi

    1) Baby Schleck was isolated just 3km or so from the summit he had to attack – Bert still had Doperman to guide his descent

    2) Baby Schleck timed his attack brilliantly – Bert was boxed in the peloton and not paying attention

    3) Doperman saw Baby Schleck go and marked him brilliantly

    4) As Doperman gained his wheel, Baby Schleck shifted at the wrong moment and his chain jumped – bad luck arising from Schleck’s own poor judgement

    5) Bert had by now freed himself from the peloton and was countering strongly

    6) Bert definitely saw Baby Schleck grind to a halt – he had to swerve to avoid him

    7) I don’t think Bert knew that Schleck’s chain was off at this time – Gesink saw that it was but he was further back

    8) Bert definitely hesitated – I don’t think he knew what was going on exactly

    9) Bert was obliged to follow Sammy and Menchfalloffalot

    10) Martinelli admits he informed Bert that Schleck’s chain was off

    11) Bert started pulling like his life depended on it

    12) Were Bert’s actions justified? In my opinion, which I admit counts for jack, YES, they were. The chain slipping was a direct result of Baby Schleck shifting at the wrong time while HE was attacking… yup, it was a mechanical but ’twas also a ‘racing’ incident… you, can boo if you want to… we are all Gods in Forumworld

    13) Saying that, I hope this lights a rocket up Andy’s arse and he goes nuts out on the Tourmalet on Thursday… and that Bert punctures in the time trial… that would make things interesting wouldn’t it?

  • Two Pork Pies

    Maybe Andy Schleck will now realise he’s not there to make friends. Contador saw a chance a to possibly win the tour and took it. I very much doubt the history books will mention how friendly the loser of this battle was. Contador has hardly endeared himself to people, but that’s probably not an objective of his. It would be great to see Schleck use his anger to destroy Contador on a nice long climb but my money is on the ruthless, slightly unsporting, winning machine.

  • Graham Kerr

    Shame on you Alberto. You will probably win the tour now but you have lost many fans including myself today. Hopefully you will not be wearing yellow in Paris but I fear you may.

  • joseph sandoval

    First, Andy and Fabian did not wait after the pave crash. . . creating a 1:13 gap on Contador. Now Andy cries about this!?! Hopefully Andy will move to Sky with Cavendish and they can both be crybabies on the same team. Second, slipping a chain on an attack up a steep grade is not a mechanical failure . . . for those who have raced in the mountains (like myself) we know that it is rider error. Andy should spend more time practicing shifting at speed and on attack on HC climbs, and less time crying about other riders RACING. Third, what did Andy want? everyone to come to a standstill and wait for him to get his Sh*t together? If he broke the chain should everyone wait and picnic until a gapped saxo rider could swap bikes, or perhaps menchov could have just given his bike to Andy! At some point it gets ridiculous . . . there should be no gifts in the TDF. I stand behind Contador on this one.

  • arronski

    Go Tommy great win, great attacker, nice guy . ( unlike AC)

    Hope AS blows him away on the Tourmalet!

  • marty

    AC should have waited he was going to win now he will only be rembered for this

  • John Calliott

    In Stage 2 Contador was in chase group with Armstrong & others when he heard Andy had a problem behind. There was an argument, but Alberto insisted they sit up & wait for Andy.
    Stage 3, the pave stage, Contador got stopped behind a crash with 30 kilometers to go. Someone hit his wheel & broke a spoke. He rode to the finish with his brake rubbing, and was unable to ride standing up. It got really bad in the final 2 kilometers and he lost 20 seconds to the group he was in. Cyclismag said he was “too fair play” by not claiming the problem was in the final 3 kilometers. Contador said he would have lost even more time if he had stopped for a wheel change (because Schleck didn’t wait for him).
    Schleck had been well behind after the Prologue, but took a minute 13 seconds that day. It’s the ONLY reason he has been in the yellow jersey at all.

  • Charles Rhind

    Shame on Contador. I supported him last year when Armstrong made life difficult for him but that has gone out of the window. If he says that he didn’t know Schleck had a problem he is not being honest. He had a clear view of Schleck attacking and grinding to a halt. The team radio will have informed him immediately. Mechov and Sanchez took their lead from him. If he goes on to win it will be a hollow victory. Armstrong was right – he has a lot to learn!

  • Mike

    Its the unwriten law of cycling, you dont attack the yellow jersey when he has a mechanical.
    Its the act of a desperate man as Contador is not as strong in the mountains as last year and could see his Tour evaporating.

  • Darb

    Which side of the fence do you stand?

    Contador claims he didn’t know about “the chain” and yet every rider now has a radio, so surely the team car would have known. Was it unsporting of Contador to attack? It is a bike race after all, not a friendship race…….

  • Cavologuardi

    Hopefully, this will put an end to all talk of Contador teaming up with the Schlecks next season… and mean years and years of bitter rivalry will now ensue… excellent… a new ‘golden age’ dawns for armchair cycling fans everywhere… I can’t wait for next year!

  • arronski

    I hope this fires Schleck up too attack contador, not very sporting way to win the tour!

    Contador must fear him big style….and there suposed to be team mates next year!

    Go Schleck!

  • Ryan Chung

    during the Armstrong vs Ullrich days…..we’ve seen the respect the two have shown to each other

    when jan went off road during one occasion, we saw lance slowing down and constantly looking back to jan

    when lance went down after hitting a spectator’s bag, we saw jan slowing down and kept looking back for lance

    to make matters worse, schleck was in yellow today when he had chain problems…..not only AC didnt slow down for schleck…he was flying

    there goes the unwritten law of “thou shall not attack the yellow…”

  • Steph

    Contador is a jerk. It is obvious that he’s trying to cover up his wrong-doing when he lies about not seeing Schleck. They had cameras on the guy showing him looking back and he passed him.

    I hope Schleck gets his revenge.