Despite failing to live up to his status as favourite to win the Spanish time trial championship, Alberto Contador played down the fact that he only finished third, describing the race as “very positive” as he looked ahead to next week’s Tour de France.
Contador finished a substantial 1:12 down on defending champion Luis León Sánchez over the 44.5km course, and was also beaten by Jonathan Castroviejo (Euskaltel-Euskadi), who came in 11 seconds quicker than the recent Giro d’Italia winner.
“It was a very hard time trial,” Contador told Europa Press. “The first part was very demanding and on the second half I struggled to get my breath. But I’m happy because I managed to get my pulse rate up quickly and that shows that these last few days of rest have helped me.”
Contador insisted that few conclusions could be drawn from the time trial result because it was his first race since he claimed the Giro title at the end of May.
“I’m happy because I’ve got an hour of time trial effort under my belt and because, in spite of how much how much I suffered after the first hill, I recovered and started to feel increasingly more comfortable. Now I will ride a bit on Sunday [in the road race championship] and then pack my bags for the Tour,” he said.
Contador added that he felt that he “lacked a bit of rhythm” compared to riders who have just come out of the Dauphiné or Tour of Switzerland. “But I think the test is very positive because in addition it was quite similar to the final time trial in the Tour de France.”