Alberto Contador made light of his crash on the final descent of stage 16 of the Tour de France before reminding his rivals that he would attack at every opportunity in a bid to still win the race. After an exhilarating finale to the stage Contador remains third overall, 4:25 down on Chris Froome (Team Sky).
Contador attacked several times on the final climb of the stage, the category 2 Col de Manse, but each acceleration was matched by Sky's Richie Porte, who repeatedly dragged race leader Chris Froome up to the Spaniard.
However, Contador wasn't finished, attacking on the descent in a bid to unsettle the race leader. The move backfired on the downhill made famous by Joseba Beloki's 2003 crash with the Saxo-Tinkoff leader crashing on one corner. Froome almost hit the deck too, but managed to keep upright despite running off the road briefly.
Contador was quickly on his bike but his right elbow and knee took the brunt of the fall.
"I hope it's something superficial," he said. "Now I'll put ice on myself and I think I'll be fine for tomorrow."
Despite the fall and Chris Froome's assertions that the Spaniard had taken too many risks on the descent, Contador remained upbeat. His accelerations, and those of his teammate Roman Kreuziger and Katusha's Joaquim Rodriguez, were enough to drop Belkin's Laurens ten Dam and put the Dutchman's teammate Bauke Mollema under pressure.
"This is pure and simple cycling. Today we tried and in the end a Belkin rider was unhooked and another was on the ropes," he said.
"Now I just hope that the fall does not affect me more than to sleep a little worse and that tomorrow could be an important day."
Finally, he indicated that his attacking style would be a persistent thorn in Sky's side as the British squad look to run down the clock all the way to Paris.
"I have not been able to make differences, but hey, the legs are getting better and I hope I can give some spectacle. I don't know if we'll win or not, but I hope the people behind the TV will enjoy.
"Whenever I see that there is a chance, I'll try to do something, either at the beginning or at the end of the race. And we'll see what is the final result in Paris."
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