Contador says his Tour de France form ‘won’t be less than previous years’
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Monday, June 10, 2013

Contador says his Tour de France form ‘won’t be less than previous years’

by VeloNation Press at 8:06 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Critérium du Dauphiné
 
Despite quiet Dauphiné, Spaniard insists he’s happy with his sensations and progress

Alberto ContadorAlthough Alberto Contador had a muted showing in the Critérium du Dauphiné, finishing tenth overall after holding back to help his team-mate Michael Rogers on the last day, he believes that he will be in top condition in time for the Tour de France.

While the Spaniard never seemed to have the same punch as he has done in the race in previous years, he insists that things are going to plan.

“The overall balance is good, very good. My sensations are very good, regardless of the result in the overall, which is a secondary consideration,” he said. “I've been mostly focused on going every day better and I am very happy with the form that I have now and I think I'll be in top condition for the Tour de France.

“I will not say if it will be better than any other year, because that will be seen in the race, but not less than in previous years”.

Contador’s words will provide encouragement to his team and supporters, both of whom were surprised when he finished only 61st in the time trial, being caught by Richie Porte (Sky) and conceding over three and a half minutes to the stage winner Tony Martin (Omega Pharma Quick Step).

He blamed allergies for that poor performance, and did appear to fare better in the mountains as the race progressed. He attacked on the final climb of yesterday’s stage, going clear with RadioShack Leopard’s Tony Gallopin, but ultimately sat up when his team-mate Michael Rogers got into difficulty and was dropped.

“The situation was very good, because Gallopin was wearing Sky down,” said Contador. “He had a good pace and I was following his wheel, thinking of giving a little more to try to fight for the stage win. With the rain, I was breathing much better.

“However we saw that Rogers was having a bad moment and I thought it was better to give him a hand to try to hold his position [third in the general classification – ed.]. At the end he did not have a good day, but I'm happy because the sensations are very good. Where would I have finished? I do not know, I can't know, but I'm very happy with the sensations that I have”.

Rogers and Contador finished one minute 55 seconds behind the stage winner Alessando de Marchi (Cannondale Pro Cycling) and one minute 31 seconds behind the overall victor Chris Froome (Sky). The time loss meant that Rogers slipped from third to sixth overall, and Contador from ninth to tenth.

In retrospect it’s open to debate as to whether or not he would have been better not to have waited and instead to have persisted with his efforts for a stage win, but Rogers will have appreciated the gesture and will be even more committed to Contador in the Tour.

While the team would have liked Contador to have achieved more in the Dauphiné, his insistence that things are on track will help settle Team Saxo Tinkoff’s concerns. The most important factor is that the race helped give him some sharpness after a long break from competition, and also that there seemed to be no bad effects from the crash he suffered yesterday.

“After the Col de Vars I had a bit of bad luck, because in the only moment I dropped behind the group to get rid of my rain jacket, I had a bad fall,” Contador explained. “I got up, I went back to the group and the sensation was very good at the last climb”.

He’s hoping that there will be no lingering effects from it. ˇIt is still too soon to know if it will have any consequences,” he said. “My left side is quite bashed. Luckily, we wear a lot of clothes in the rain, so you slip over the road and have less scratches. I hope it don’t bother me in continuing the preparation for the Tour.”

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