Contador takes safety-first approach in Paris-Nice prologue

Tour de France contender loses time to Porte and Thomas

Two-time Paris-Nice winner Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) finished in 27th place, 16 seconds down on prologue winner Michael Matthews on the opening day of Paris-Nice.

The Spaniard lost time to a number of his GC rivals but with the race only just beginning and the 6.1 kilometer prologue full of technical turns and opening with a section of cobbles, the priority, said Contador, was remaing upright.

"I felt in good form. In the first part, the prologue had a lot of cobbles and in that sense, I wanted to make sure I stayed out of trouble, so I took my hands off the extensions as well as in most of the curves. I am happy because when I had to accelerate, my legs were responding well,” he said.

Contador, already a winner this year with a stage and third overall in the Volta ao Algarve, last raced Paris-Nice in 2010. He finished fourth in the prologue that year, won a stage in Mende and sealed the overall at the end of the race. This time around, although he lost ground to riders such as Richie Porte (BMC) and Geraint Thomas (Sky), Contador said he felt as though his legs were in decent shape.

“I lost time compared to most of the GC contenders but there are still so many kilometres ahead of us. The first sensations were good, we now have to take each day as it comes."

Contador, 33, is aiming for the Tour de France title this year, having won it twice, in 2007 and 2009. In 2015 he won the Giro d’Italia but failed in his attempt to win the Giro-Tour double.

Paris-Nice continues Monday with a 195km stage from Condé-sur-Vesgre to Vendôme. Cyclingnews will have live coverage.

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