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Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Sungard) looks for the shelter of the team bus.
Spaniard says Alps might be decisive
After a tentative move on the climb to Super-Besse on Saturday failed to yield any dividends, Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-SunGard) has said that he is content to wait for the Tour de France’s high mountains to make inroads into his 1:42 deficit on the yellow jersey.
The Spaniard also added that he is “not obsessed” with regaining time as quickly as possible when the race enters the Pyrenees on Thursday, pointing out that there is still a gruelling final week in the Alps to come.
“It’s going to be complicated to take time before the mountains, and then you never know whether it’s better to go in Pyrenees or the Alps,” Contador said. “We shouldn’t obsess about closing the gap in the Pyrenees because the Alps come in the last week and could make an even bigger difference.”
Contador explained that he will decide on his policy of attack according to the circumstances of the race.
“You have to see when the right time is and then profit from it,” he said. “These first nine stages will have an influence on the remainder of the race, in the mountains.”
At Super-Besse on Saturday, Contador had been expected to test Andy Schleck after the Luxembourger had struggled on the punchy climb at Mûr-de-Bretagne earlier in the week. However, Contador explained that in spite of his “good sensations,” the final climb was not exacting enough to separate the contenders.
“It was just a power climb, it was more for people who can ride well on the flat than for the pure climbers, so I’m happy with how it went,” Contador said. “I really couldn’t have done better.”
After a tough opening to the Tour, that saw him jeered at the team presentation due to the ongoing Clenbuterol affair, lose time on the opening weekend and fall off on stage 5, Contador will be pleased to get to then mountains without any further difficulties.
“The most important thing is that I got through it without falling,” he said of Saturday’s stage.
Nonetheless, Contador and the other overall contenders received an unexpected bonus when Robert Gesink (Rabobank) was unable to follow the rhythm in the finale and lost over a minute. “When you have riders of the calibre of Gesink losing time in the general classification, then it’s good,” Contador acknowledged.