Volta ao Agarve: Contador nervous about Tony Martin in tomorrow’s time trial
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Saturday, February 19, 2011

Volta ao Agarve: Contador nervous about Tony Martin in tomorrow’s time trial

by Shane Stokes at 2:50 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Volta ao Algarve
Spaniard pledges to try but is uncertain about form

Alberto ContadorDefending champion Alberto Contador has said that he is most worried about the German time trial specialist Tony Martin in tomorrow’s final stage of the Volta ao Algarve, recognising that the HTC Highroad rider is well positioned to challenge for the overall.

The two riders are both well within striking distance of ongoing race leader Steve Cummings, who had two crashes during today’s stage and will start the race against the clock battered and bruised. Contador is just six seconds back, with Martin a further four seconds behind.

Given Contador’s lack of racing until now, as well as the mental pressure of his Clenbuterol positive and the resulting stress, it is uncertain how tomorrow will go for him. Because of that, he’s cautious about making any predictions.

“Tomorrow will be a difficult day, because the four front riders have possibilities and we also have Tiago Machado and Andreas Klöden, plus many others, who can fight for the stage,” he explained.

“Tony Martin is perhaps the most dangerous rival, but for me the important thing is to be focused, try to do my best and then see what the result is”.

As stated, there are other threats besides Cummings and Martin. The promising 22 year old American rider Tejay Van Garderen (HTC-Highroad) is fourth, twelve seconds off the race lead, and will be hugely motivated to try to score an upset. Rein Taaramae (Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne) and Andreas Klöden (Team RadioShack) are both within 26 seconds or less of the jersey, and they too will fight hard.

Last year, Contador finished second to Luis Leon Sanchez in the final time trial, ending the race 30 seconds ahead of his compatriot. That experience hands him an advantage, in that he knows the course and also because he won’t have any last-minute changes to a new bike. Twelve months ago, UCI’s rules limiting the use of the Shiv meant he had to use a different machine.

“It’s not too hard a time trial. In 2010 it was very windy and I think it will be very good for Martin. I’d like to do well for everyone who has supported me in these months, because there have been days when I wanted absolutely nothing and they have been helping me to get up and go for a bike ride. I also want to thank Saxo Bank-Sungard Team for the support they are giving me, like all my team mates who are working incredibly well.

“So I would like to do it well, but to win is very difficult”, he said, adding that he wasn’t sure he had the form to fight well in these initial events.

Unlike Contador, Martin has raced before Algarve. He ride three Challenge Mallorca events, netting 20th in the Trofeo Inca and then a fine fifth in the Trofeo Deia.


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