Giro d’Italia leader Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) has roundly rejected the idea that Richie Porte’s time loss on Tuesday's stage 10 now means that Fabio Aru (Astana) is the main rival for the overall victory.
Porte (Team Sky) has dropped to 1:09 behind Contador as a result of the puncture, with Aru still remaining just three seconds down on the Spaniard. But the Tinkoff-Saxo pro denied that Porte’s time loss meant any real alteration in the overall fight for the maglia rosa.
“It doesn’t change anything,” Contador said when asked by an Italian journalist if he considered Aru his top rival following Porte’s puncture and as if to underline the point, he repeated, “it doesn’t change anything.”
Contador argued too, that even with the increased margin on Porte, the chances that he lose the maglia rosa on Saturday to the Australian remains a possibility. "Ok, it was a big gap [time loss for Porte] for a flat stage but by the end of the Giro d’Italia that kind of difference could be insignificant.”
Himself a victim of bad luck in the closing kilometres of a seemingly innocuous sprint stage last week, Contador reflected, “It seems like a cliché that you can lose time on any stage, and of course, it’s never in anybody’s plans but it’s true.
“If you have a flat tyre close to the three-kilometres-to-go sign like that, that’s really bad luck,” Tinkoff-Saxo sports director Steve De Jongh said to Cyclingnews.
“We saw [from the team car] he [Porte] had stopped on the left hand side of the road and normally you stop on the right if you have a problem, of course, and then we saw he was changing wheels and realised he must have a flat tyre.
“It’s like when Alberto went down in the crash, we were commenting on that on the rest day, it’s just as well he didn’t lose time as well, because something like that happens at the wrong moment and you can lose minutes.”
As for the stage itself, Contador added “it wasn’t at all easy. There is no easy day in the Giro, look at what happened to Richie.
“It was a day of ‘active rest’, with a lot of tension in the finale, I’m pleased I got through it without any problems.” This compared sharply to his activity on the rest day where he revealed he had spent the bulk of the day sleeping “like a [hibernating] bear in winter.”
Contador's attention is focussed exclusively on Saturday’s time trial, to the point that where he says he has not even looked at the route book to see what kind of stage awaits him and the rest of the Giro d’Italia peloton on Wednesday. “I’m sharing rooms with Ivan Basso, and after dinner he’ll explain to me what it’s like,” he said. For now, he seems just pleased to have got through an unexpectedly eventful stage.
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