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