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Tour de France: Schleck 'full of anger' at Contador, who gets booed

July 19, 2010 |  9:47 am

Tour_300 Even with its doping problems, cycling has certain points of honor. You don't attack the leader when he takes a "nature" break or if he is slowed by a sudden mechanical problem.

On Monday, in the second Pyrenees stage, yellow jersey holder Andy Schleck started to attack on the mountain and just when he did, he lost his chain on his bike. As Schleck came to a maddening halt, defending champion Alberto Contador saw what happened and pushed on past, looking over his shoulder and making a clear decision to take advantage of Schleck's bad luck.

By the end of the stage, Contador held the yellow jersey and was eight seconds over Schleck, who had led by 31 seconds going into the stage. As Contador received his jersey on the podium, he heard boos, maybe from half the crowd, according to Versus television announcer Phil Liggett. And this stage ended near Spain. Contador is Spanish. Schleck told Versus reporter Frankie Andreu that he would not make a judgment on the fairness of Contador's attack, though it was something he would not have done. He also said his stomach was "full of anger," and that Tuesday, in the third of four Pyrenees stages, Schleck had "revenge" on the agenda.

So even though Lance Armstrong is having his worst Tour ever and now seems unlikely to even be able to take a stage win in his final Tour, this thing should be nasty-good the rest of this week. Contador took something of a beating last year when he made what seemed unnecessarily ungracious comments about Armstrong as a teammate when Contador won his second Tour de France with Armstrong finishing third when both rode for Astana.

Contador's actions Monday were being dissected even before he came across the line Monday. So was his character. 

-- Diane Pucin

Photo: Andy Schleck looks back at Alberto Contador as they climb the Port de Bales pass during Monday's 15th stage of the Tour de France. Credit: Eric Gaillard / Reuters.