Contador plays down chances in today’s Eneco Tour time trial
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Saturday, August 11, 2012

Contador plays down chances in today’s Eneco Tour time trial

by VeloNation Press at 8:57 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Eneco Tour
 
Spaniard satisfied with showing thus far in race

Alberto ContadorAlthough Alberto Contador is normally one of the quickest time trial riders in the peloton and is just over half a minute off the race lead heading into today’s Eneco Tour time trial, the Spaniard is playing down his chances of contending for a top spot today.

The Saxo Bank Tinkoff Bank rider is in his first race back after a suspension and feels that he lacks the necessary sharpness when compared to the others in the peloton.

“There are riders who are better, they have a point of form and speed that I still don’t have,” he said. “No matter how hard you train, it is difficult to get it except with competition. I just hope to do a good time trial.”

Still, even if he doesn't overcome his 33 second deficit to the leader Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma Quick Step), he sees the race against the clock as being an important opportunity for him to test himself prior to the Vuelta a España.

“The distance is fine, just under eighteen kilometres, although on totally flat and wide roads. Will have to see how I feel, but I think it's always good to have a time trial like this,” he explained. “We made some changes on the bike and we can try them and spend a little more time on the bike. In the Tour of Spain we have an important time trial, although very different from this. I'm looking forward.”

Contador’s been focussing on staying out of trouble thus far, avoiding crashes and finishing with the peloton each day. He dropped 26 seconds to Boonen’s squad in the stage two time trial, and also dropped a further five seconds due to a slight gap in the bunch at the end of Thursday’s fourth stage to Bergen op Zoom.

Overall, he’s pleased. “I am very happy with these first five stages. There have been moments of great danger, the ends have been very nervous, everyone wants to be in front and the roads are narrow, but I'm happy because it is very good training,” he said.

“[In this race] we go very fast, at extremely high speeds that I think it will allow me to ride more comfortably in the Tour of Spain, at least in the flat.”

The race is by and large a flat one, but tomorrow’s final stage will give an opportunity to test riders’ climbing legs. While the climbs are nothing like the mountains that lie ahead in the Vuelta, a number of Classic ramps such as the Muur of Geraardsbergen will still give an insight into how his form is and, if he is feeling good, to move right up the overall standings.

“I do not know exactly how the climbs are. If there are cobbles it’s different than asphalt, but we'll see,” he said. “It will be a very demanding stage and serve to make a final tune-up, thinking about the Tour of Spain.”

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