Vuelta a España: Alberto Contador “saves the day” after cramping on Fuerte del Rapitán
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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Vuelta a España: Alberto Contador “saves the day” after cramping on Fuerte del Rapitán

by Ben Atkins at 2:24 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Vuelta a España
 
Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank rider manages to limit his losses despite struggling on final climb

alberto contadorAlberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank) declared himself happy after stage six of la Vuelta a España, despite losing several seconds on the final climb to the finish at the Fuerte del Rapitán, above the town of Jaca. The 2008 race winner, who is riding his first Grand Tour since returning from suspension, was not feeling at his best on the short, steep climb, but managed to limit his losses to stage winner Jaaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), as well as his other overall rivals Chris Froome (Team Sky) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar).

“Because of the heat, and the high temperatures we’ve had, I was beginning to suffer cramps on the final climb,” Contador said after the stage, “and I told myself ‘hey, Alberto, just get up it the best you can.’ I think I saved the day quite well.”

Contador lost 19 seconds to Rodríguez,14 to Froome, and nine to Valverde; although with the addition of time bonuses for all three of them, it was actually 31, 22 and 13. Contador remains in third overall, but is now 36 and 26 seconds behind Rodríguez and Froome respectively.

While his superior time trialling should see him take back that, and more, from Rodríguez, he faces a stiffer task to gain time on Froome against the clock. Where today’s final climb was almost tailor-made for the Katusha rider - in a similar way to the tenth stage of the Giro d’Italia into the city of Assisi - Contador himself will have to take his chances on the longer, tougher climbs to come.

"For me it is the best climb,” he explained, “which I knew, but also that under normal circumstances it would have been no problem for me to fight for the stage. “But hey, I'm happy because, despite having this bad luck, the loss has been minimal.”

“I liked the attitude of Froome today,” he added. “It is important for the race to see riders of this calibre attack.

“It's good for the Vuelta, which will also give me some opportunities in the coming days.”

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