Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) has expressed surprise at the lack of support from Movistar to try and pull Esteban Chaves (Orica-BikeExchange) back on the last mountainous stage of the Vuelta a Espana, after the Colombian climber's long-distance move pushed Contador off the podium and back down to fourth overall.
Chaves' bold attack, combined with solid support from team-mate Damien Howson, left Contador relying on teammate Yuri Trofimov on the final climb of Aitana, which was not enough to prevent the Spaniard from losing 1:24 to the Collombian.
"I thought that Movistar would help me after the stage to Formigal," Contador said, "but it didn't work out like that. Although I talked to [Alejandro] Valverde, they weren't willing to help me pull back Chaves. It's a pity, they took advantage of the situation I created that day."
Contador also indirectly, his own team and parts of his own approach, saying "I've learned a little bit more about how to race alone here, it's much easier when you have a great deal of support like with Sky.
"My team supported me as best they could but I was lacking support in the mountains."
He also admitted that he had made an error, "because I should have tried to have gone with Chaves when he attacked, but I thought it was a long way to go to the finish, so I didn't.
"I'm not so much disappointed as losing the podium as I am on losing the win overall. But when you win you don't learn much and when you lose you learn a lot more, and that's going to help me for next year.
"My congratulations to Nairo for his win, Froome for his race, and more than Chaves, Orica, for their strategy."
Vuelta a Espana - Stage 20 Video Highlights
Alasdair Fotheringham has been reporting on cycling since 1991. He has covered every Tour de France since 1992 as well as numerous other bike races of all shapes and sizes, ranging from the Olympic Games in 2008 to the now sadly defunct Subida a Urkiola hill climb in Spain. Apart from working for Cyclingnews.com, he is also the cycling correspondent for The Independent and The Independent on Sunday.
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