You seem to be forgetting that Schleck was attacking and had already quite a few meters on Contador when his chain dropped. Also after he got his chain back on he rode a considerably faster ascent than Contador, he lost time because of the descent. If AS's chain did not drop, he would have taken time on Contador during that stage.Ventruck said:Those 31s match what was before the chain drop, simply proving AC would've at least caught Andy no matter what.
But to jump on what could be controversy over where AC started in this TT: I think the only thing he took advantage of was deciding his effort. I bet if he started earlier, he'd have gone much harder. Call me out for assumptions, but based on last year and comparing him to AS, Contador looks like he could've bested Schleck by much more than 31 seconds today.
IF any of that is indeed true, then the bigger question/controversy imo is why AC didn't challenge Menchov's time? He'll pose a much larger threat in the next stage. Whatever AC gained on him during stage 17 evaporated today.
Another thing is that if Contador had been able to drop Schleck on the Tourmalet, he would surely have done it. And again, in this ITT, he would have liked to have a bigger margin to stop the controversy.
He also cried afterwards and said it had been very difficult. I derive from all these facts that this was a victory on the edge and over the thin line of chivalry within the pro peloton. Contador won on luck and astuce, nothing more.