Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank – Tinkoff) didn't have much to offer against the attack of red jersey Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) on Stage 9 of the Vuelta a España but believes that the second week of racing will be better suited to his abilities.
Contador is one minute down on Rodriguez with Sky's Chris Froome seven seconds ahead of the Saxo Bank rider. Speaking during the Vuelta's rest day, Contador is happy with his performance so far as he rides in his first grand tour since returning from his back-dated doping ban.
"We have experienced a few days with fatigue and tiredness but now the Vuelta truly begins," the 29-year-old said. "I think the ITT and next the mountains will take its toll on the overall classification. On the coming stages the differences will be bigger than last week.
"It's been a long period of time without competing for me and the parcours have so far been suitable for explosive riders,"
Contador continued. "Now it will be suitable for me and the climbers. We're going into a terrain where I feel more comfortable."
Wednesday's 40km individual time trial, with a climb of the cat 3 climb of Alto Monte Castrove and technical descent, is suited to Contador as well as Froome and Rodriguez.
"It's seems to be a pretty good time trial for me but also for the other three in the top of the GC," he said. "There's one climb and one descent and that's better for a rider like Joaquim [Rodriguez] than if it were a purely flat time trial. I think the four of us will perform well and the outcome of that stage will decide the tactics in the big mountains."