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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Millar rides through pain barrier to make time cut
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Wiggins to aim for Tour de France stage win?
Dan Lloyd battles on in Tour despite groin strain
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
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