Has Tour changed for ever with "Chaingate" incident?

by jimmythecuckoo   July 20, 2010  

I am not sure that the non-cycling public are getting the best impression of our sport from this years Tour de France.

We saw the headbutting incident involving Mark Renshaw (the first two weren't butts, he was merely fending off Julian Dean who was crossing into his line) and now the whole 'should he shouldn't he' Contador incident.

Within the office I have been trying to tell people that this piece of cycling lore is based on the same principle as kicking the ball out in football when a player is 'injured'.

It is the nearest analogy I can find. Your opponent is not able to function at full capacity through an external force( mechanical in cycling, injury in football) and therefore the sporting thing to do is take no advantage.

If you look at the incident in isloation yesterday it does look dark for Alberto. But having said that the whole race was made to wait for both Schlecks back in Spa as a result fo them falling off.

There are only so many times you can show sportsmanship to the same person before it becomes tiresome.

If Andy had punctured would they have waited? 

Could Contador not have been told in his earpiece to slow down and wait for Andy? 

After the track stand incident of the previous day was Contador getting his frustration out? 

Should Andy's ire not be directed more at Sammy Sanchez and Denis Menchov who did more of the pulling (from what I saw)?

One thing is for certain it is making the Tour more media friendly for non-cyclists but I am not sure that is a good thing...

11 user comments

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Oh come off it JTC, he didn't have a mechanical he made a mistake when he attacked, perfectly legitimate for everybody else to profit from that. Top level sport is a ruthless business forcing errors is part of the game, as are unforced errors, Scheck's cack-handed gear change could come under either of those categories.

You play to the rules not the unwritten ones. Oh, and the kicking the ball out in football analogy, well that particular unwritten rule gets abused all the time and in fact the practice itself is often used to gain an advantage.

Anyway, if everyone stopped every time one of their opponents made a mistake sporting contests would take a very long time indeed and the Tour in particular would be pretty boring, this year's race has been fantastic.

Denzil Dexter's picture

posted by Denzil Dexter [141 posts]
20th July 2010 - 11:20


I think the real sadness is that we were deprived of a great finish to the stage and, although I've got huge admiration for Schleck, I think he would have been shown to have made a mistake in attacking where and when he did. Contador was clearly the fresher of the two and I don't think Schleck could have stayed away. As far as the ethical fallout goes - Contador is the loser. Not because he attacked while his adversary's chain was off, but because he didn't have the balls to just shrug his shoulders at the end and say "Hey, that's racing".

simonmb's picture

posted by simonmb [360 posts]
20th July 2010 - 13:11


UPDATE: I see Contador has just issued an apology. Kind of makes things worse in my mind...

simonmb's picture

posted by simonmb [360 posts]
20th July 2010 - 13:28


with you on that simonmb

Denzil Dexter's picture

posted by Denzil Dexter [141 posts]
20th July 2010 - 14:43


Denzil Dexter wrote:

Anyway, if everyone stopped every time one of their opponents made a mistake sporting contests would take a very long time indeed

Fair point... I think the whole thing will inevitably back fire on Contador whether he meant it or not.

You only had to hear the crowd reaction on ITV last night.

jimmythecuckoo's picture

posted by jimmythecuckoo [1348 posts]
20th July 2010 - 15:08


Makes it more interesting in my opinion.

posted by Old Cranky [278 posts]
20th July 2010 - 16:19


Whilst I have every admiration for the way Schleck fought back on the climb I can't see what grounds he has for criticising Contador - I didn't see anyone else stopping. That's cycling. The slow-mo on TV tonight showing Schlecks rear wheel jumping in the air was interesting - what did cause that - a jam between chainwheel and guard?
All set up nicely for the next stage now.......

posted by mfarrington [11 posts]
20th July 2010 - 20:52

1 Like

No way in my opinion can anyone slag Contador off for doing that I think he was perfectly entitled to do so. Its a bike race for men not an afternoon outing by the YMCA(God bless them) so these things happen maybe if it was a personal injury accident then yes maybe stop but if Contador had stopped would the others in contention have stopped? Probably not. Go to it Alberto dont let it affect you, win if you can. Alan Jett


Alan Jett's picture

posted by Alan Jett [19 posts]
20th July 2010 - 21:15


As a non-racer, I don't see what the problem is.

It's a race! A 3 week race at that. Wear your opponent down. Take advantage of the luck that comes your way. Granted, it's not nice, but that is the nature of competition. Taking part is not the most important thing.

Neutralising the race reduces the spectacle and drama, and opens the door to the "professional foul".

neildmoss's picture

posted by neildmoss [254 posts]
20th July 2010 - 21:54


Rider error. That is all.

cactuscat's picture

posted by cactuscat [305 posts]
20th July 2010 - 22:45


Having seen it again on a few shows yes, I have changed my mind to an extent. Schleck clearly made a shifting error but it does seem a shame that contador goes on the attack when the mech happened. Especially with the time differences being so close now. Winning because another rider dropped a chain cant be as gratifying as winning because they couldnt stick with you on the slopes.

not all carbon is the same.

Jon Burrage's picture

posted by Jon Burrage [1081 posts]
25th July 2010 - 12:10