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Alberto Contador did not seem happy when he saw the cobbles on stage five of the 2014 Tour de France
Confidence still there for former race winner
The 30-year-old had made this year’s race his main focus of the season but came away with a disappointing fourth place, 6:27 down on eventual winner Chris Froome (Team Sky).
The Spaniard has already talked about a reduced racing schedule for 2014 as he goes in search of his third Tour win and after watching the unveiling of next year’s race Contador talked positively when asked about whether he could challenge the likes of Froome and Nairo Quintana.
The Spaniard broke the race into three distinct part, focussing on the flat stages of the first week with the cobbles on stage 5, before pinpointing his specialist terrain in the mountains. The final week in the Pyrenees leads into what could be a crucial battle in the only time trial of the race, a 54km test from Bergerac to Périgueux, where Contador told Cyclingnews that he expects significant gaps between the contenders for the general classification.
The confirmation that riders will have tackle 15.4km of cobbles during the 156km fifth stage between Ypres and Arenberg Porte du Hainaut will test all the aspiring GC riders. In 2010, the last time the Tour tackled the pave of northern France Contador produced a somewhat surprisingly strong ride to finish just off the back of a lead group that contained Andy Schleck, Fabian Cancellara and stage winner Thor Hushovd. Only a late mechanical meant that Contador trailed in a few seconds after the leader that day while the majority of his rivals for yellow lost either significant time or in the case of Frank Schleck crashed out of the race completely.
In this exclusive interview with Cyclingnews at the Tour presentation in Paris, Contador dissected the Tour’s race route and pointed out that on the cobbles you can lose everything.
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