Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) has vowed to attack Chris Froome (Sky) during the Critérium du Dauphiné’s concluding doubleheader in the high Alps, although he acknowledged that the British rider has shown himself to be the strongest rider in the race to date.
Contador lies 12 seconds off Froome’s yellow jersey, having finished second behind him in the opening time trial in Lyon and again the following day on the summit finish atop the Col du Béal.
A surprise attack on stage 5 was a signal of Contador’s intent, and although he was later reeled in, the Spaniard will be hopeful that he can go on the offensive on the stiff terrain the peloton faces this weekend.
On Saturday, the route features five categorised climbs, including the Col de la Forclaz and the summit finish at Finhaut-Emosson, while a summit finish at Courchevel brings the curtain down on the Dauphiné on Sunday.
“For me, everything depends on how my legs respond. “These will be passes worthy of the Tour de France,” Contador told L’Équipe of the weekend’s stages.
The Dauphiné is Contador’s first race since he won the Tour of the Basque Country in April, and he reiterated that his intention was to prepare for the Tour de France rather than attempt to win at all costs.
“I’ve come to prepare for the Tour. Maybe the others have come to win, but not me,” he said. “Of course, I’m going to try to attack Froome, but just not any old way. For now, he has shown that he is the strongest.”
Froome suffered a crash in the finale of Friday’s stage, although the rest of the peloton slowed the pace and waited for the maillot jaune to rejoin the race. Contador, meanwhile, described his own afternoon as the most low-key of the race to date. “We could ride calmly, although we knew that we had to pay attention in the finale.”