Contador says he’s not racing for a place in history
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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Contador says he’s not racing for a place in history

by Shane Stokes at 5:10 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia
Plays down talk of records

Alberto ContadorFormer team manager Giuseppe Martinelli said this week that he believed Alberto Contador is a better rider than Miguel Indurain and Lance Armstrong, and that by the end of his career his results will be second only to Eddy Merckx. The Spaniard has however played down comparisons with others, saying that he is not motivated by the thoughts of beating their records, but rather has other motivations.

“I have been racing for my people, for my fans, for my team, for cycling and to have fun,” he insisted at the press conference after stage 11 to Castelfidardo. “I am not interested in having a different kind of palmares or to reach someone like Indurain. I ride for Alberto Contador.”

The Spaniard is currently trying to win the sixth Grand Tour of his career, seeking to add a second Giro title to the one he won in 2008. To date he has also taken three Tours and one Vuelta, although that total is subject to an upcoming Court of Arbitration for Sport ruling in relation to his Clenbuterol positive at last year’s Tour.

Contador has been leading the Giro d’Italia since winning Sunday’s stage to Mount Etna. He previously said that he felt it might be better to relinquish the race lead, but his team rode hard yesterday in pursuit of a breakaway and thus prevented Garmin-Cervélo’s Christophe Le Mevel from taking over the Maglia Rosa.

Having had a tough stage, though, he and his team appear to be more determined to try to hand over the jersey to someone else for a couple of days.

“On Etna, my attack was really out of my improvisation. I was trying to see things went and I won the race. Having achieved the pink jersey in the Giro d’Italia is quite incredible and I will remember that forever. But also being the leader of the Giro has its risks,” he admitted.

“I’m very proud to have the pink jersey, but from now on I am only going to think of May 29th. If you are in the lead early on, sometimes you need to give it up to ensure you are in the lead at the end. Holding onto the pink jersey is not a priority [now], even if I’m proud to wear it.”

He played down suggestions that he could have doubts about his team’s strength. “Starting from Friday on, every team may be the right one to win the Giro,” he said. “Personally I trust my team fully, although every team will do their best to get first at the end of the Giro.”

One of the most important stages will be Saturday’s race to the Zoncolan. It takes in the feared Monte Crostis, an unpaved, steep climb with dangerous descents. Contador previously expressed concerns about safety, but seems more reassured now.

“I am going to think about the Crostis in terms of a tough race, but at the same time I am aware that big efforts were done in terms of safety,” he said. “There are still some doubts about the team cars…if I am correct, there probably won’t be any team cars available on the downhill, only motorbikes. So there are still many uncertainties during that stage.

“But I do believe that in terms of safety, all the prerequisites have been met, so that the stage will be carried out in the best conditions.”

He’s feeling confident heading towards it, though, saying that his legs responded well in yesterday’s finale. Today’s stage is almost certainly going to be a bunch sprint, then tomorrow the roads rear up once again and the general classification battle will continue.


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