Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) described himself as only partly satisfied with his opening team time trial result Saturday at the Vuelta a Espana, which saw his squad lose a hefty 35 seconds on BMC Racing Team.
The difference with Team Sky was marginally less - 26 seconds - and exactly half the 52 seconds Contador's squad lost last year on the British squad in the opening team time trial in Galicia. But even so, as Contador recognised this was not the start he would have liked for his last-ever Grand Tour.
"In comparison with last year, it's not so bad, but it's still a lot of time," Contador said after the Nimes team time trial. "Starting from behind is always a problem, but let's take this on the day by day. My team gave it everything they've got, and we went as fast as we could."
A ragged finale, though, did not allow Contador's team to maintain the promising early start to the TTT they'd made, although the Spaniard pointed out that one of the key things they wanted to avoid were crashes - and in that, they'd been successful.
"It was a very dangerous time trial course. This morning there were some crashes, and we've decided to take things as safely as possible. We preferred to lose a bit of time and be safer as a result, but it's also true that 25 seconds are a lot of seconds."
Contador expressed his thanks for the gestures of support he received along the way, but as he pointed out, "I have two objectives here. One I'm sure I'll get, and that's enjoying the race. The other one is to fight for it." And on that particular front, there's no denying his start in Nimes represents a setback.