Contador: I knew I could lose the leader's jersey

Off day for Spaniard on stage 4 of Vuelta a Andalucia

Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) put a brave face on his defeat at the Alto de Allanadas on Saturday at the hands of Chris Froome (Sky), which cost the Spaniard the overall lead in the Vuelta a Andalucia.

“Some days you are stronger, others less so, and that’s why when you feel good you have to make the most of it,” Contador said. “In that sense, I’m very pleased with how I’m feeling.”

Contador explained that on stage 3’s final ascent to Hazallanas, he was actually holding back a little. On Saturday, however, he struggled. “I didn’t feel so good,” he said. “However, it’s nice that it’s a spectacular, close race. This Vuelta a Andalucia has become a great event.”

Contador argued that he was “very pleased with my build-up in general. Yesterday when I won, everybody said ‘oh he’s going really strongly.’ [But] I have a schedule, in fact I’m going more slowly than other years at this point of the season, with the idea of hitting top form in the Giro and in that sense it’s going well.”

Asked about his duel with Froome, he said that it was “more than a question of [sporting] revenge. Each of us has his own objectives, and mine are the Giro and the Tour,” he added.

In a good mood despite his defeat, Contador even joked a little when asked if he had gone too deep at Hazallanas, saying “Not all, I think I should have pushed it a little harder, because when you stop to think about those two seconds… Cycling’s like that, you can never tell what’s going to happen.”

He praised Froome’s attack, saying “It was very hard, very strong, he just didn’t stop at all. I saw the best thing I could do was try to recover a little. I had no idea what the time gap was because it was a very short distance. But I knew that my chances of keeping the leader’s jersey were low.”

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