Contador says his condition is improving each day, accepts second place on mountain stage
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Thursday, June 06, 2013

Contador says his condition is improving each day, accepts second place on mountain stage

by VeloNation Press at 10:38 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Critérium du Dauphiné
 
“I’m here to improve my condition but not to go too fast, the real goal is the Tour de France”

Alberto ContadorShowing frustration in his body language when Chris Froome accelerated away from him inside the final few seconds of stage five to take the victory, Alberto Contador has said that he will simply keep working hard and believes he will be at a higher level in the Tour de France.

The Spaniard bounced back from a difficult time trial yesterday and was moving better today, attacking hard on the final climb, getting a gap and holding off all of the other GC riders apart from a bridging Froome.

The duo closed up to lone leader Matthew Busche (RadioShack Leopard) and fought it out for the stage win. On this occasion, Froome was noticeably stronger and powered over the line in Valmorel four seconds ahead of his Spanish rival.

Doubtlessly frustrated to see his big Tour rival assert his superiority and take the yellow jersey, Contador looked at the bright side afterwards. “I’m happy because I felt a little better than yesterday, but not a lot. I know that this time of the year is not the best for me due to allergies and I have to go day by day. But my condition is improving every day and this is the most important thing.” He added that Froome was “very strong, like his team.”

Although last year’s Tour winner Bradley Wiggins held a very high level throughout last season, winning the Dauphine and then keeping that form through the Tour and into the Olympic Games, Contador has been clear since the start of the year that he is centring everything around the Tour. He has said that he isn’t at peak form because of that, and also points to allergies as a reason why he didn’t perform in the time trial.

“This is not my race, I'm here to improve my condition but not to go too fast, because the real goal is the Tour de France,” he said. “Regardless of the result, the goal is to get ready for the Tour.

“If you can win a stage, it's fine because it always gives you a bit of confidence, but the important thing is to keep working.”

More mountainous stages lie ahead and Contador will try to fare better, grab a victory and, if possible, score a blow to Froome’s morale along the way. His team is also working hard to be ready for the Tour, and Contador said that what he saw today was encouraging in that regard.

“[Michael] Rogers has placed very well overall and the team also is going better each day. Today we got three riders in the front group and that is thanks to the hard work of all my teammates.”

Rogers was fifth on the stage, twelve seconds back. Jesus Hernandez was thirteenth at 55 seconds. Rogers remains best of the Saxo Tinkoff riders in fourth overall, one minute 37 seconds behind new leader Froome.

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