Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

#TECH 24

Changing the world, one video game at a time

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Socialist Party summer conference kicks off in explosive atmosphere

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Canada and Russia exchange snarky tweets

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Ebola in Nigeria: First death outside of Lagos

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Niger: Top opposition figure to be questioned in baby-trafficking scandal

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Liberia: President dismisses top officials who ignored call to return home

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Google rivals Amazon with delivery drone tests

Read more

DEBATE

How to Stop Ebola: WHO Says Cases Could Exceed 20,000 (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

How to Stop Ebola: WHO Says Cases Could Exceed 20,000

Read more

  • First case of Ebola confirmed in Senegal

    Read more

  • Ukraine to relaunch NATO membership bid

    Read more

  • France shines in IMF list of world’s promising economists

    Read more

  • Mapping Ukraine: Canada and Russia in ‘tweet for tat’ row

    Read more

  • Obama has 'no strategy yet' on potential Syria strikes

    Read more

  • Netflix to woo French with ‘House of Cards’ set in Marseille

    Read more

  • French businesses ‘hoping for a new Thatcher’

    Read more

  • Syrian refugees surpass 3 million, UN says

    Read more

  • West backs Ukrainian claims of Russian incursion

    Read more

  • Libyan PM resigns as Islamists set up rival administration

    Read more

  • UN says 43 peacekeepers captured in Golan Heights

    Read more

  • The deleted tweets of Manuel Valls

    Read more

  • Peru seizes record 6.5 tonnes of Europe-bound cocaine

    Read more

  • Pakistan army to mediate between PM, protesters

    Read more

  • PSG face Barcelona, Ajax in tough Champions League draw

    Read more

  • In pictures: Billions of locusts invade Madagascan capital

    Read more

  • Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie say ‘I do’ in France

    Read more

  • Erdogan sworn in as Turkey's president

    Read more

  • Assad cannot be partner in fight against terrorism, says Hollande

    Read more

Sport

All eyes on Contador and Schleck as Tour kicks off

Video by Louis MASSIE

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-07-02

Spain's defending champion Alberto Contador and two-time runner-up Andy Schleck of Luxembourg renew their rivalry as the 2011 Tour de France gets underway on Saturday.

AFP - Yellow jersey contender Andy Schleck on Friday stopped short of criticising the crowd which gave reigning Tour de France champion Alberto Contador a hostile welcome to the race.

And the Luxemburger said he would not refuse any help from fans at roadside during his three-week campaign to finally land stage racing's biggest prize.

Contador, who will defend his crown in spite of a ruling which could lead to a doping ban in a month's time, was whistled and jeered by half of a 7000-strong crowd at the team's presentation late Thursday.

Schleck, whose Leopard team were given applause minutes earlier, said Friday: "It wasn't good for the team nor for Alberto but some of the crowd are fans and some are not, that's life.

"It wasn't nice."

Contador, who has won all the Grand Tours including the Giro d'Italia for the second time in May, tested positive for clenbuterol at last year's race.

He has been cleared by the Spanish authorities, but the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) will decide in August whether his claim that the positive test was down to contaminated meat is valid.

The cycling authorities have meanwhile urged fans and competing cyclists to consider Contador as innocent until proven guilty.

Schleck's older brother Frank, who is also competing at the July 2-24 race, echoed those sentiments.

"Alberto is here, that means he has the right to race. You have to respect that," said the Luxemburger, who is considered an outside bet for a place on the podium in Paris.

One of the hottest topics of last year's race was Contador's decision to attack Andy Schleck when the Luxemburger, wearing the yellow jersey, suffered a mechanical problem late in the race.

The Spaniard went on to take the race lead, although Schleck and some fans rounded on Contador who was subsequently booed on the podium.

While Schleck claims that incident is now forgiven, the Luxemburger said he wouldn't say no to some extra support from roadside as he bids to unseat Spain's three-time champion

"Personally, yes I hope to benefit from the public's support but we'll see how the race develops," said Andy.

"It gives you more motivation. I like that, and it's something I can benefit from."

Date created : 2011-07-02

COMMENT(S)