MACON, France -- Yellow jersey holder Oscar Pereiro of Spain has hit out at rival team CSC for their refusal to try and catch Floyd Landis during Thursday's 17th stage of the Tour de France.
"What happened yesterday is a pity," Pereiro said at a news conference Friday.
Landis broke clear of the field early in the 17th stage and reignited his chances of winning the Tour with an impressive solo effort. It came a day after Landis appeared to have lost his chance at a win when he cracked in the final ascent of the 16th stage to La Toussuire.
CSC's Carlos Sastre of Spain is second in the overall standings, 12 seconds behind of Pereiro, while Landis is third, 30 seconds behind.
Pereiro's Caisse d'Epargne team stepped up a gear to catch Landis, but the CSC and the T-Mobile teams refused to help, sparing their strength for the last climb to the col de Joux-Plane.
"[Thursday] we did the right thing. We have an easy conscience," Pereiro said.
The Spaniard was seen talking with Sastre in the peloton during Friday's 18th stage.
"I told him I was not mad at him but I disagree with the way they rode the stage," he said. "Anyway, I'm satisfied with the result because we have done everything we could."
Pereiro added that he still believed he could win the Tour despite Landis' strength in time trials. Saturday's time trial could decide who wins the race.
"It's not finished even if usually I'm happy when I only lose two minutes in a time trial," he said. "[Saturday] I will have to lose less than 30 seconds."
Reuters contributed to this report.