By Jean-François Quénet in Amilly
Alberto Contador had made it clear prior to the inaugural time trial of Paris-Nice that his intentions were only to limit the damage compared to the top specialists and he beat them all! "It's a big surprise for me to get the win today," he commented. "This was a flat time trial and it suited the specialists more than me."
Asked whether he's now the world's best time trialist, he was prompt to deny the claim. "No, for sure I'm not the best in the world." In fact, it would have been interesting to see what Lance Armstrong would have done here the same day under the rain.
"I don't have any message to send to Lance or anybody. I just go for my own calendar and I'm happy with the win I collected today."
Contador corrected some impressions that he had a new position for time trialing. "I haven't changed anything compared to last year." He will have to cope with the unexpected situation of being the race leader since he wanted to be quiet for the first few days. Being a one-week race with usually no big gaps between the contenders, Paris-Nice isn't an event where a rider easily gives the yellow jersey away.
"I don't think my position will change any aspect of the tactics of the team," Contador added. "I'll have to pay more attention, that's it. It's very good to have won. It gives me an advantage already and it's nice to carry the yellow jersey." He's in the exact opposite situation as two years ago when he never wore the yellow jersey but won Paris-Nice during the final stage.