Tour de France: Leg problems and lack of support leave Contador floundering

'It's becoming a different kind of Tour for me'

Alberto Contador was keen to ride straight to the Tinkoff bus after losing 33 seconds to his overall rivals on stage 5 of the Tour de France, but he couldn’t avoid the scrum of television cameras and especially the Spanish radio stations that wanted to capture his every word and know why he lost time. When Contador put a foot down, the radio journalists pounced and he was forced to put on a brave face at the end of a bad day.

"I knew today would be a complicated stage for me. Movistar and Team Sky did the race, tested me at the end of the stage and I lost a bit of time," Contador admitted, hiding his disappointed behind his sunglasses but speaking sincerely. He even went as far as to hint that his chances of overall victory are slipping away and that he may, as a consequence, change his race strategy.

"It’s becoming a different kind of Tour for me, where I have to go day by day and perhaps change my objectives. I have to see if I can recover for the Pyrenees and if I can’t then I’ll have to wait for my moment in the Alps."

Contador was seen hanging onto the back of the front group on the final climbs of the stage in to the Massif Central. He briefly slipped out of the back but fought to get back on and then moved up to hide on the wheels. However he was distanced on the final climb and had to fight alone to limit his losses at the finish in Le Lioran. With Rafal Majka up the road in the break of the day, Contador only had Roman Kreuziger in the group to help him but the Czech rider did not wait for him, finishing 25th on the stage, 22 seconds ahead of Contador.

Left to chase on his own

Contador was asked about why he was left to chase alone. He avoided criticising his teammates to the media and is more concerned about his left leg which he injured when he crashed on the opening stage of the Tour on Saturday. He has been suffering ever since he crashed on a corner mid-way through the stage to Utah Beach.

"Things were a bit disorganised at the end, but I don’t have to give it too much thought. The important question is what’s happening with my left leg and that it’s not working, and that’s the real problem," he said, refusing to be downbeat, despite perhaps knowing his chances of overall success are diminishing with every stage.

"The truth is I'm satisfied," he argued, trying to be optimistic. "I lost less time than I thought I would despite Movistar going all out on the climbs and that’s actually made me a bit more optimistic given the Tour has become really tough for me. One thing I’m sure about is that I’m here to put up a fight and do what I can. I’m not wounded mentally. The Tour de France is an incredible race and I’ll always give my best."

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