Is Alberto Contador's Tour De France Win Tainted?

Jason BrynsvoldCorrespondent IJuly 24, 2010

PAUILLAC, FRANCE - JULY 24:  Alberto Contador of Spain and the Astana Team reacts on the podium after retaining his yellow jersey on stage nineteen, a 52km individual time trial from Bordeaux to Pauillac, on July 24, 2010 in Pauillac, France.  (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

On Saturday, Alberto Contador finished 31 seconds ahead of Andy Schleck in the individual time trial of the Tour De France, expanding his overall lead to 39 seconds with one uncompetitive stage to go.

With the slim margin of victory for Contador, questions will arise about the tactics he used to claim his third career Tour De France championship.

On the second to last day in the Pyrenees, Schleck was looking to breakaway from Contador and looked to finally be getting some separation on the final climb of the day.

That's when disaster struck. Just as Schleck was kicking it into high gear, the chain on his bike came lose and he was forced to stop to repair the mechanical mishap.

Contador took this stroke of bad luck at used it to his advantage, gaining 40 seconds on Schleck that day and taking over the yellow jersey.

The controversy with the way Contador took the yellow jersey is obvious. He didn't beat Schleck that day because he was a better rider than him, but only because of a mechanical error on Schleck's end.

Now that we are only one day away from the end of the best bike race in the world, it is obvious that Contador will win the yellow jersey.

Looking back at how much time he gained on the unlucky day by Contador (39 seconds), if you subtract that time from the lead he has now, Schleck would be tied right now with Contador at the top of the leader board!

You could argue that the race would have been a little different if Schleck maintained the yellow jersey until the 19th stage that was held on Saturday, but it is clear that the time Contador gained was certainly not inconsequential.

I think as people look back at this Tour De France in the years to come, some will consider the win a little bit tainted for Alberto Contador (one of them being me).

It's a shame that he didn't want to decide the race on merit and decided to win any way that he could, even bad luck from his main contender.

Schleck certainly has more chances to win the Tour De France, seeing as how he is only 25 years old and will win the white jersey for best young rider in the race. Hopefully, this friendly rivalry will continue strong in the coming years of bike racing.