A solid outing in the Grenoble time trial on Saturday saw Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Sungard) move up to 5th overall at the Tour de France, but the Spaniard admitted that he had paid for his efforts on the road to l’Alpe d’Huez the previous day.
“I did a good time trial,” Contador told AS. “I felt good, although I noticed the accumulated fatigue on the rollers [while warming up.]"
Contador finished third on the day, 1:06 behind Tony Martin (HTC-Highroad). Although disappointed to miss out on the final podium in Paris, he acknowledged that his sights were set much higher at the beginning of the Tour de France.
“It would have been nice to have ended up on the podium, but I came with the aim of winning the race,” said Contador, who had failed to win only one of the seven Grand Tours he had started in his career prior to this race.
The Spaniard was on the offensive throughout Friday’s short but sharp stage to l’Alpe d’Huez. Although his attacks ultimately yielded neither the yellow jersey nor stage victory, Contador was pleased by the reaction to his show of defiance.
“Obviously, by expending so much energy you pay for it the next day,” Contador said. “However, I was filled with more affection from people than for a stage win in the Tour de France. When I got to my hotel room, my mobile phone was saturated with all the messages that had been sent to thank me for my efforts.”
Contador also had words of praise for Tour de France winner Cadel Evans (BMC), who he had beaten into second place in Paris in 2007.
“Cadel Evans is a worthy winner,” Contador said, according to L’Équipe. “It’s a deserved victory. His manner of riding isn’t spectacular but he showed that he was very strong. He did some fine stages, and today [Saturday], he did a great time trial.”
With a dominant Giro d’Italia triumph to his name in 2011, Contador declared himself pleased with his season’s “positive balance sheet.”
He will face a challenge of a different kind in early August, however, when the Court of Arbitration for Sport will hear appeals from the UCI and WADA that Contador should be sanctioned for his positive test for Clenbuterol at the 2010 Tour de France.