After five completed stages of his long-awaited comeback to cycling, Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank) has declared himself satisfied with his performance at the Eneco Tour as he prepares to tackle the individual time trial on Saturday afternoon.
Contador lies in 49th position in the overall general classification with two stages to go in Belgium and Holland. It is his first competitive race back on the circuit following the expiry of his six-month ban for a positive test for clenbuterol. He reserved special praise for the fans in Belgium and Holland, stating that he was happy with the support that they have given him.
"The balance is very, very good," Contador told Marca. "I am delighted with the public and I feel at home in the Netherlands and in Belgium. There have been moments of danger in the race, especially at the finishes as the roads are narrow and everyone want to be at the front."
Contador is using the WorldTour race as a warm up for the Vuelta a Espana, which starts in Pamplona on August 18. Having missed the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France because of his ban, the 29-year-old Spaniard will be looking to perform well in 2012's final grand tour and win it for the second time in his career. But he admits that Saturday's time trial will be a struggle for him as he looks to build his fitness.
"There are riders who are in better shape," he said. "They have the speed that at present I do not have. But competing is the best training and I am hopeful of putting in a good trial."