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Contador Unchained! Schleck Mechanical Costs Him Lead

Andy Schleck Tour de France

Alberto Contador sauntered into the yellow jersey today when an attack at the top of the Port des Bales went horribly awry for Andy Schleck. The Saxo Bank rider's chain appeared to come off or jam at the worst possible moment, just as Contador had launched a counterattack, and though Contador appeared not to press his advantage (as etiquette dictates), he was nonetheless away in a select group containing the two combatants for third, Denis Menchov and Sammy Sanchez. Sanchez in particular kept the pace high, and Schleck couldn't rejoin them, losing 13 seconds at the top of the climb and another 30" on the way down to the finish.

Thomas Voeckler of Bbox Bouygues won the stage, attacking away from the breakaway of a dozen riders on the steep pitches of the day's final climb. Alessandro Ballan tried to keep Voeckler in sight, but couldn't quite get it done.

Results below the fold.

Stage results:

  1. Thomas Voeckler, Bbox Bouygues
  2. Alessandro Ballan, BMC, at 1.20
  3. Aitor Perez, Footon Servetto, s.t.
  4. Lloyd Mondory, AG2R, at 2.50
  5. Luke Roberts, Milram, s.t.
  6. Francesco Reda, Quick Step, s.t.
  7. Alberto Contador, Astana, s.t.
  8. Sammy Sanchez, Euskaltel, s.t.
  9. Denis Menchov, Rabobank, others, all s.t.
  10. Andy Schleck, Saxo Bank, at 3.29

New GC:

  1. Contador
  2. Schleck, at 0.08
  3. Sanchez, at 2.00
  4. Menchov, at 2.13
  5. Jurgen Van den Broeck, Omega Pharma, at 3.39

Photo: Spencer Platt, Getty.