For Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Sungard) the tenth stage from Termoli to Teramo was an uneventful one. The Spaniard’s Saxo Bank Sungard team controlled the race early on before allowing the sprint teams to take over in the finale. But Contador is all too aware that it will only get harder over the next two weeks.
“Our mission was to work as little as possible on today to defend the jersey,” the maglia rosa said.
“We allowed teams like HTC-Highroad have to work on the front of the field because [we knew] it was a good opportunity for them.”
As an experienced Grand Tour rider, Contador knows that holding the jersey today - and holding it in Milan [on May 29th] are two different things. When the Spaniard won the Giro in 2008, he didn’t win a stage and instead rode a controlled race from start to finish, conserving his efforts for the big stages. Despite winning a stage already Contador knows the same general principle will apply in 2011.
“Naturally, having the jersey means hard work. I estimate that each day is an hour or one hour and a half less of recovery time. I am very happy to take the jersey but the most important thing is to wear it in Milan,” he said.
“Tomorrow will be like riding a classic - extremely difficult and there's a possibility that the breakaway lasts all the way. We will have to be vigilant.”
Contador currently has a lead of 1:21 to his biggest rival, Vincenzo Nibali going into tomorrow’s 142km stage to Castelfidardo.