“The race is not decided at all:” Contador pledges to battle on in Tirreno-Adriatico
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Sunday, March 10, 2013

“The race is not decided at all:” Contador pledges to battle on in Tirreno-Adriatico

by VeloNation Press at 7:52 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tirreno-Adriatico
“The differences are very small and with a very short time trial, it could be seconds up or down.”

Alberto ContadorMoving up to second place in the general classification thanks to time bonuses he picked up in an intermediate sprint close to the finish and then by netting third on the stage itself, Alberto Contador will begin Monday’s sixth stage of the Tirreno-Adriatico believing that it’s still possible to win the race overall.

While GC leader Chris Froome and his Sky team are both showing strong form, Contador doesn’t accept that the final outcome is already decided. Monday’s sixth stage is a 209 kilometre race which is peppered with short, sharp climbs, while Tuesday’s decider is a 9.2 kilometre individual time trial at San Benedetto del Tronto.

Both will be difficult and, therefore, both will be opportunities to put Froome under pressure. Contador will also be encouraged by his winning of last year's Vuelta a Espana, with the seemingly-bulletproof form of Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) finally wavering after relentless attacks. For that reason he has no intention of giving up his chances.

“Yesterday wasn't my best day,” he said, referring to day four’s race to the top of the Prati di Tivo climb, “and if I had done the stage differently, I would have better chances in the overall now. But tomorrow's another day and there's still a time trial waiting for us. The race is not decided at all. The small time differences make it possible to still climb the GC.”

While Froome was strongest in Saturday’s finale, waiting until the final kilometre to unleash a devastating, stage-winning burst of speed, Contador will take encouragement from how the race went on Sunday. He and Froome went for the time bonus near the end of the stage and the Spaniard proved strongest; he was also stronger than his rival at the finish, although the bonus time gleaned was less than it could have been because Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) took the win and Bauke Mollema (Blanco) edged him out for second.

“In the final maybe I could have gone with Joaquim, but he attacked very strongly very strongly and I preferred to be at the wheel of Froome,” he said. “I did not know how he was or if I could catch Joaquim. Anyway I'm happy with the result.”

He has a simple goal for Monday’s stage: “To go as far forward as possible,” he stated, adding that time bonuses would once again be crucial to chase. As for the final time trial on Tuesday, he said that it will be “an important day in which you have to do well regardless of the overall. The differences are very small and with a very short time trial, it could be seconds up or down.”

Contador has an additional reason to try to keep riding strongly; he took over the red jersey of points leadership after stage five and could hold onto it, although he makes clear that he’s more interested in the blue jersey of overall leader.

“To get this jersey was not my goal as I'm riding for the overall classification,” he stated. “But of course, it's nice to get some time on the podium.”

Whatever happens in the race, he said that in terms of the bigger picture of the Tour de France, competing against Froome and Team Sky was very useful in terms of formulating tactics for the July event. “Whatever the result is, this race is really good for me…I had seen the working system of the Sky on TV, but never live, seeing the numbers and the SRM. I think this will help me to plan the tactics in the Tour.”

Contador won the latter event in 2007 and 2009, losing out on the 2010 title due to his positive test for Clenbuterol. He wants to focus everything on the Tour this year, and confirmed that he will miss the Giro d’Italia as a result.

However he said that the warmth of the reception he has received in Italy has encouraged him to come back to the country’s Grand Tour at some point in the near future.

“It is amazing how people call out my name on the road,” he said. “From here I say “grazie a tutti per questo”. For me it is difficult not to come to the Giro this year, but why not the next one?” he said.


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