By Phil Liggett
July 19, 2010
There could not have been a more emotive stage as the Tour de France celebrated 100 years since the introduction of the Pyrenees to the event in 1910. French champion Thomas Voeckler wins alone in Luchon and the race leader for the past six days, Andy Schleck, is left behind when he his chain slips just before the summit of the Port de Barles with 14 miles to go.
Should Alberto Contador have desisted with his attack, leaving his other two rival Denis Menchov and Samuel Sanchez to press on? Many apparently thought he should have. Schleck, through no fault of anyone, except perhaps himself, was left standing on the mountain for 34 seconds, seeing his overnight lead of 31 seconds disappear into the setting sun.
Chase as he did, he lost his lead by eight seconds and said later that there was "anger in his stomach" and that soon he will take his revenge. This is a perfect scenario for exciting moments as the race continues for two more days in the Pyrenees. He did not directly blame Contador for attacking, but added if it had been him he would not have done it. That can only remain as speculation.
Contador received a mixture of cheers and boos on the podium in Luchon. Not surprisingly, the Spaniard looked somewhat taken aback. Never lose sight that the Tour de France is a professional sport and these athletes take part to win. Contador did nothing wrong.