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July 21, 2010

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If there's anything I've learned about racing from being on various listserves and periodic participation in local office park circuit races, it's that anything less than having an Astana domestique head butt Schleck and curb him off the mountainside, preferably from the blind side as he took a nature break at the mountain top feedzone, would be a betrayal of the true spirit of racing and an outrage that should be punishable by relegation.

Talk about being placed in a difficult position! If Contador sits up and waits for Schleck - and then loses the Tour - he'll forever be labeled an idiot; if he charges past and ultimately wins the race, then he's a poor sport. I thought about it, the more it seemed (at least to me) that he did the right thing. The Tour is after all a race, and while a certain amount of decorum is to be hoped for, the competitors are expected to, well, compete. The line between taking advantage of a situation and taking unfair advantage will always remain fuzzy, and we as fans (and this applies to the media,as well) should keep in mind that in the heat of battle the competitors do not have the luxury of sorting out the nuances that inform that line. It is a rare thing in sports to see an athlete pull back when an opponent falters (no one waited when the U.S. Olympic relay team dropped the baton, for example), but it does happen from time to time in bike racing, and when it does, we should applaud; when it doesn't, we should be cautious about passing judgment.

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He did the right thing. Shifting properly is part of the sport and Schleck messed it up. That's on him. A flat or a broken chain might be something else, but it looks and sounds like he just tried shifting having too much torque on the chain and it popped off.

Correct - it is Schleck's fault for being too strong!

Did schleck have a modified front derailleur?

I was reading something about that.

no - Schleck's fault for lacking skills to shift.

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