Speaking to French television after Chris Froome (Sky) claimed the maillot jaune in Paris, Contador admitted that chasing the Kenyan-born Brit's lead was draining.
"When you are behind you suffer more," he said. "And now we just have to analyse what has happened. Outperforming Froome is a new motivation to continue."
That chase, however, may well have resulted in Saxo-Tinkoff's blitzing of the competition when it came to the team classification with Bjarne Riis' outfit finishing 8:28 ahead of AG2R – La Mondiale. Contador's lieutenant, Roman Kreuziger finished fifth overall, with Michael Rogers the next best from the team in 16th place.
The penultimate stage brought an end to Contador's podium ambitions, with the 30-year-old slipping from second overall to fourth after Team Sky put the pressure on the Spaniard on the final climb up to Semnoz.
"Defending a second place is not the same as defending the leadership," said Contador. "It is always better to finish second, but the goal was to finish first. It was not possible this year. There was a stronger rider than everybody else."
Saxo-Tinkoff directeur sportif Fabrizio Guidi had similar sentiments.
"We never tried to hide our goal of the Tour and we kept our focus throughout the race showing that we won't give up so easily," he said. "We tried every opportunity there was and we launched attacks in terrains rarely seen before in the Tour and I honestly think our team made the race entertaining and highly worth watching. We did our best in every way but have to face that we lost to someone stronger than us. Now, it's time to reflect and to analyse how we can make a better preparation for next year's Tour de France."
Thank you for signing up to Cycling News. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.