Contador praying for rain to help break Rodriguez’s grip on Vuelta
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Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Contador praying for rain to help break Rodriguez’s grip on Vuelta

by Shane Stokes at 6:48 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Vuelta a España
 
Two opportunities left to overcome toughest opponent

Alberto ContadorHe attacked multiple times on yesterday’s stage in an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to try to break race leader Joaquim Rodriguez; with time running out, Alberto Contador has said that he is now hoping for wet weather on Saturday’s penultimate stage of the race.

“I had better legs and I've tried, but I wish there was a rainy day, which would suit me pretty well,” he said, thinking ahead to the race to the summit of the Bola del Mundo climb. “We are having an extraordinary weather for the Vuelta but not the rain, which I use as an ally.”

Contador has a far better Grand Tour record than his rival; second in this year’s Giro is Rodriguez’s best result, while Contador has victories in two Tours, the 2008 Giro and the 2008 Vuelta to his credit.

However at this point in time Rodriguez has all the answers; he responded to every one of Contador’s attacks and, as he had done on other days, powered clear at the end to beat him to the line. He took two seconds out of him in the last 100 metres and with the additional time bonus, is now 28 seconds clear.

The Vuelta is Contador’s first Grand Tour since his suspension ended and while some predicted he’d dominate this race, he’s looking more and more likely to end up second in Madrid.

He’s trying to remain upbeat, to believe he still has a chance. “We tried,” he said of yesterday’s stage. “But regardless of the result and that Joaquin is very strong, I am very happy with the race we are doing, both my team and myself. I think we are giving colour and excitement to this race so far”.

The riders will have their second rest day today. The Vuelta resumes tomorrow with a stage to the top of the second category Fuente Dé climb; the next two days are much flatter, then Saturday’s race to the top of the Bola del Mundo is the final decisive moment.

Unless his team can split the bunch on those flatter days – which is unlikely – Contador has two pistol shots left to break a rival who was been bulletproof thus far. He’ll pray that he has a good day, Rodriguez has a bad one, and that the rain pours down in four days’ time.
 

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