The day after crashing towards the end of stage one at Paris-Nice, Alberto Contador wasn't exactly smiling in the morning but he indicated that he could continue racing.
"You have to put things into perspective," said Astana's general manager Yvon Sanquer prior to stage two. "There was a small loss yesterday; sometimes in Paris-Nice 17 seconds can be significant but what happened is also no catastrophe. I'm not saying everything is fine but in Mende on Thursday there will be a possibility for gaps to be created.
"Nothing is definite so far, neither in Alberto's favour, nor the opposite. I just hope the crash will be without any consequence."
Sanquer wasn't the only person to have noticed how nervous the Paris-Nice peloton is. "The 22 teams are highly motivated to perform," he explained. "Normally the organisers would limit the participation to 20 teams but it was a unique occasion to give exposure to the teams bidding for a wild card entry to the Tour de France. The selection process is in the air."
The Frenchman was satisfied with the teamwork at Astana so far. "The team has yet to find their marks," he added. "A group is in formation and works pretty well. We've never said we'd be 100 percent ready for Paris-Nice, we also never said we were a dream team but it's going well."
Upon reaching Limoges, Contador expressed his relief. "The day has been more or less as I expected," said the Spanish star. "I knew it would be a difficult day. I could not feel my natural pedalling style but I could save a long day and now I have to work with the
masseur to see if in two or three days I can be perfect."
The fear of being forced to pull out is behind him now. "I'm not going home as I passed today's test, which was the most important one. I've also been able to finish and I could ride in the front, so I'll continue Paris-Nice, that's for sure."
Due to its difficult parcours, Contador is also riding this race as training for the Tour. "We are doing very high average speed and there is a lot of tension throughout the entire stage. We must be in alert at all times, which is something we can also expect in July."