Alberto Contador took the yellow jersey from Andy Schleck in today's Pyrenees stage. Noteworthy is the fact that Schleck is pissed that Contador — and the rest of the field — didn't stop and wait for him while he fixed his bike.
I pay attention to cycling precisely once a year, so it came as a surprise to learn that it's customary for the leaders to pull off to the side of the road if one among their number is having mechanical problems. In this case, Schleck lost his chain, and expected Contador and the other contenders to just stop what they were doing while he repaired it. They didn't, and just sped on.
And why shouldn't they? Isn't bicycle technology and maintenance an integral part of the sport? In NASCAR, if the leader's engine explodes, they don't stop the race until he can get his backup car out on the track.
As a cycling philistine, or perhaps just a boorish American, I have much to learn about the customs of cycling. And according to Schleck, so does Contador.
Today, you know, everybody is in panic, they see already the Eiffel Tower. I would not have taken advantage of the situation," he said. "It's not up to me ... but for sure these guys don't get the fair play prize today."
He added: "I wouldn't want to take the jersey like that."
I totally would.
Schleck loses overall Tour lead to Contador after mechanical problem [Canadian Press]