Ninth at two minutes and 30 seconds down on Tony Martin was not the result that Alberto Contador wanted to get at the UCI Time Trial World Championships on Wednesday, but the Spaniard put a brave face on it at the finish line.
Just moments after finishing, he was shaken up upon hearing that Euskaltel-Euskadi second year pro Victor Cabedo had been killed in a traffic accident. Contador, nonetheless, managed to discuss his below-expectations performance, which he put down to a bad day.
"Ninth is ok, but I'd have liked to have finished a bit higher," the Spanish rider said, "when I came here, my idea was to fight for the medals."
"I wasn't feeling good from the start, I noticed that in seven or eight kilometres, my legs weren't going well and I couldn't get really focussed."
"Then when Tony Martin went past me, that was tough to handle. I knew he was on for a winning time, I tried to keep close to him but it was impossible. He was turning a massive gear, it was a false flat, and he was still heading away from me."
"I just tried to keep him at a reasonable distance and finish ok because I knew that a medal was not a possibility."
He said that tiredness after racing such a tough Vuelta a Espana could have had an effect as it maybe did when he did the Giro d'Italia in 2011 followed by the Tour de France, where, prior to losing the title because of his doping suspension, he finished first and fifth respectively in those two races. Contador's form was clearly not at 100 percent as he would have liked.
"My form's incognito at the moment. I maybe lost time by taking things more carefully on the corners, but you don't lose that kind of time just because of that," said Contador.
"But I'm happy, I came here and gave it everything and that's the result I've got." He already has an eye on the time trial Worlds in 2014 in Ponferrada, which will probably be a hill climb "and will probably suit me more".
After Sunday's road race, Contador will go on to take part in the Milan-Turin on September 26 and the Giro di Lombardia on September 29.
The Spaniard said he was in a state of shock after the news about Cabedo and later tweeted his condolences. "I can't believe what I've heard, I've just found out about Victor Cabedo's accident - a good rider and an even better person. My deepest condolences to his family."