By Antonio J. Salmerón
Alberto Contador took his fifth victory of this season in stage four of the Vuelta a Castilla y León in a hard-fought sprint against Saunier-Duval's Koldo Gil, and gained the leader's jersey from Caisse d'Epargne's Vladimir Karpets. After the race, the Discovery Channel rider said that, once the two were clear, Gil wanted to make an agreement to work with Contador to deliver him into the leader's jersey in return for a stage win, "But I had orders to win this stage because Discovery Channel had worked very hard."
Indeed, the Discovery Channel team put in a strong effort to take control of the race from the Caisse d'Epargne team, setting a scalding pace on the slopes of the Navacerrada that had Karpets losing time with three kilometres to go. Contador's stellar finish surprised him, because, "I have had doubts, because after Paris-Nice I did not know if I was going to recover my best state of form. In fact, these past few days, I had finished with pain in my legs". At the end, Contador was faster than Gil. "I believe that we are more or less equal in the sprint, and in addition, we each put in several attacks. Koldo started to sprint, but I overtook him."
Contador will tackle the fifth and last stage of the Vuelta a Castilla y León on Friday with the full support of his team, but it will not be an easy task, because there are two major climbs. "My rivals will attack me from the beginning to the end, so it will be very difficult to control", said Contador. How have you seen to Ivan Basso these last days? "I think that he will reach good results soon"
Contador does not know his presence in the Vuelta al País Vasco: "I have to talk about it with my director, but I begin to notice the fatigue".