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Alberto Contador (Tinkoff Saxo)
Spaniard looking to avoid opening week crashes
Crossing the line in 22nd place having avoided the crash caused by Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) was happy to get through the first stage of the Tour de France unscathed with the help of his team that "has been really good and that's what's important."
"We have to be in the front, like today, focused at all times to keep it together, because the peloton will be broken in many groups," Contador said of the challenging stage two route from York to Sheffield. "We'll have to try to ensure that the maximum number of riders from my team stay in front and accordingly, see what happens."
With the opening stage of the Tour traversing the narrow stone walled roads of Yorkshire packed with fans, Contador was one of several riders who found the day to be a tough stint in the saddle with danger, "not just at the end, but throughout the entire stage, with very narrow roads and perhaps steeper than in the rest of Europe," he said.
"That makes it much more difficult to brake, but we made it through the day, which was never quiet due to the parcours and falls, and so I'm really happy. Reaching the finish without problems on a stage like this is almost a victory."
Tinkoff-Saxo's Director sportif Philippe Mauduit reiterated Contador's comments on the importance of remaining upright and avoiding any crashes in the nervous first week.
"Tomorrow’s stage is, in my eyes, an English version of Amstel Gold Race," said Mauduit after the stage. "It’s going to get tough and our focus is solely Alberto getting through safely,"
While feeling good throughout the 190.5km first stage, as a seasoned grand tour rider and winner, Contador wasn't drawing any conclusions just yet as to whether he will be wearing yellow in Paris on July 27
"Sensations were good, but that we must check it in the mountains," Contador said. "On a day like today is just a matter of being concentrated on the front."