Alberto Contador has posted a YouTube apology to former Tour de France leader Andy Schleck for the timing of an attack that sees the Spaniard now lead the race. The Astana rider admitted he wasn’t happy with how he’s taken the Tour’s yellow jersey, and hopes it doesn’t impact his relationship with the Luxembourg rider.
“Today I managed to get on the podium, which makes me happy. The problem with that was the circumstances,” said Contador in the video, filmed in his hotel room. “Right when I attacked Andy had a mechanical on the last climb. The race was in full gear and, well, maybe I made a mistake, I'm sorry.
“At a time like that all you think about is riding as fast as you can,” he continued. “I'm not happy, in the sense that, to me, fair play is very important. Just like I did in the Spa stage, when both Andy and Fränk were behind the pack, I didn't hesitate to stop the bunch so that they could catch up.
“Many people criticized me for doing that, especially after the stage on the cobbles, when the crash happened and the whole bunch split as a result, and it allowed Andy to take time on me, but I always settle it by saying I'd do it again,” said Contador. “The kind of thing that happened today is not something I like, it's not my style and I hope my relationship with Andy will remain as good as before.”
Saxo Bank team owner Bjarne Riis wasn’t judging Contador after the stage. “I would have hoped he would have waited, and I think I would have waited... I think he did wait at the beginning but then it was a while before Andy was on the bike again.
“I don’t know. Was it possible for Contador to wait in that situation, with [Samuel] Sanchez [Euskaltel] and [Denis] Menchov [Rabobank] attacking? He has to follow those guys, for sure. He might not need to pull [with them] or attack, but he has to follow those guys."
Cervelo co-founder Gerard Vroomen was amongst those Tweeting on the topic, initially saying: “Contador just gained a great chance to win, but he lost the chance to win greatly.” But after considering Contador’s response, Vroomen added: “Alberto has a tiny point: Schleck didn't wait for him after the cobblestone crash so complaints about fair play ring hollow.”
Contador's apology in Spanish with English captions can be seen below: