"No mathematics" for Contador

By Hedwig Kröner One of Spain's most promising young cyclists, Liberty Seguros' Alberto Contador,...

By Hedwig Kröner

One of Spain's most promising young cyclists, Liberty Seguros' Alberto Contador, has started his 2006 season with the French 'race to the sun' about a week ago. Being an excellent climber and a good rouleur, the 23 year-old would have been a candidate for a good overall placing or a stage win in Paris-Nice, but Contador was a little short of luck after finishing a solid fourth at the prologue in Issy-les-Moulineaux.

In the second stage from Villemandeur to Saint-Amand-Montrond, the young Spaniard punctured at a crucial moment of the race. "It was a little bit of bad luck, that's true," Contador told Cyclingnews in the evening of the fifth day of racing. "We were chasing down the break when I punctured, so the race was really fast at that moment. I lost time there, although two teammates were with me - one of them had to give me his bike."

The winner of last year's Setmana Catalana also recalled the time when another mechanical ruined his then good chances of a stage win in the 2005 Paris-Nice: on the last day, he went on a very promising solo breakaway in the hinterland of Nice when his chain slipped. "I rode that stage in front all day, and I almost made it hadn't my foot slipped out of the pedal in the descent - I almost crashed very badly that day, it could have been much worse."

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