Tour Champ Contador aggressive in Flèche
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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Tour Champ Contador aggressive in Flèche

by Samuel Morrison at 4:18 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics, Flèche Wallonne
 

Spaniard Alberto Contador put on an aggressive show at the Flèche Wallonne yesterday in Belgium. The two-time Tour de France winner sent his Astana team to work and finished the job himself with an attack on the feared Mur de Huy.

World Champion Cadel Evans conserved his strength the best, though, and surged past his Tour de France rival in the final metres.

"My goal was to gain experience in these races," said Contador, "so I'm happy with what I achieved."

"It was first important to win and then to beat Alberto Contador in the finish is even more of an honour," Evans said of the battle between Tour de France favourites. "It is great to see the Tour de France riders crossing over and racing the one-day races."

Contador has only raced Flèche Wallonne twice before, once in 2006 when he placed 45th and in 2007, 54th. Last year at this time, he took a break between the País Vasco and Critérium Dauphiné stage races. In July, he went on to win his second Tour de France to add to his Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a España wins.

He is used to ruling mountain passes like Arcalís and Verbier and found the 1300-metre long Mur de Huy too short, though, its gradients touched 25 percent.

"The climb would need to be longer for me," Contador continued. "I am not a specialist in classics, because the best quality I have is recovery, but despite that I'm happy with what I achieved."

Astana took control of the race for the final, after Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas-Doimo) and Fränk Schleck (Saxo Bank) went away in an escape over the second of three times up the Mur de Huy. It captured the four-man move and snuffed out an attempt by Alexandr Kolobnev (Katusha) by the final kilometre and the climb of Mur de Huy.

"The whole team fought for me and did a great job, it was a pity not to win for them. We will see what happens on Sunday."

Sunday is the most important of the three Ardennes Classics, Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Contador only finished 26th there in 2007, but the longer course and climbs will benefit him.

"I do not know what will happen, I will try to recover."

Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank) won Liège-Bastogne-Liège last year with an attack on La Roche aux Faucons. He went on to challenge Contador for the Tour de France, where he finished second at 4'11" back.

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