Eight seconds has featured before in the race for the Maillot Jaune in the Tour de France. In the 1989 Tour it was the gap that Greg LeMond took the race by over Laurent Fignon when the Champs-Elysees witnessed a time trial final stage. Today however it wasn’t a matter or man against man that led to eight seconds.

On the Port de Bales Andy Schleck had his Saxobank team setting the pace. One by one they led him up the Col closing down the gap with the head of the race. Then about 3 km from the top of the Climb Schleck attacked but Contador took some time to respond, but then calamity, the Luxembourger’s chain came off. Contador raced on up the hill while Schleck stopped at the side of the road to sort it out. He then had to climb through all the dropped riders from the group that his teams pace had got rid off in pursuit. At the summit he was about 20 seconds behind at the summit. Ready to chase the larger group down the slopes to the finish.

In the end the group in front managed to edge further out crossing the line 39 seconds ahead of the Maillot Jaune. Meaning it had changed hands by that 8 second margin to the defending champion, who may or may not have been in trouble on the Port de Bales. However, there is previous that you don’t attack the leader when he has a disaster outside his control in a tight race. Look at Jan Ullrich hold up for Lance Armstrong here, from 2003.

If Contador felt he had to take advantage of that and couldn’t beat Schleck man on man maybe he really was starting to struggle in this tour. Schleck has seemed in control and more and more confident with each stage he has worn the yellow for. However Andy hasn’t given up hope yet as he has just tweeted.

The incident will overshadow the fact that the French Champion Thomas Voeckler won the stage in a solo effort from the day’s long breakaway to mark the 100th anniversary of the Tour climbing the Pyrenees today.

Update The view of the pros Robbie Hunter who’s had to abandon this year’ Tour ‘Contador should have waited,had he waited everybody would have waited..my opinion this was not cool!’. Chris Broadman former British rider in the Tour and now part of ITV4’s team ‘I predict a spirited moral debate, lets call it ‘Chaingate’.

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