Having finished third, second and second in his first three races of the year, Alberto Contador blitzed the final day 16.5km time trial at the Vuelta al Pais Vasco to secure his first overall victory of the season and fourth career win in the Basque country.
"The fans were crazy today at the time-trial. I consider the Basque fans to probably be the best in the world and since my amateur days I have strong links to this place," said Contador who also won the race in 2008, 2009 and 2013.
Contador started the final day six seconds down on Sergio Henao (Team Sky) but was quickly up to speed and setting a time that no previous rider had managed. The Tinkoff rider knocked Nairo Quintana (Movistar) off the hot seat as he crossed the line five seconds quicker and had only had a matter of minutes before Henao finished the stage 18 seconds down to celebrate with his team.
"For me it was a pleasure racing and winning the Vuelta al Pais Vasco," added Contador who last won a race at the 2015 Route de Sud. "It's a very hard race, one that is difficult to control and where a thousand things can happen. When I think about it, it still seems incredible that I won. I'd like to dedicate this victory to all the fans and to Oleg Tinkov for his support, his passion and for making this team a reality. This victory goes to him."
While Contador has consistently stated that the 2016 season will be his last in the professional peloton, the 33-year-old explained his start to the season has him reconsidering his future.
"Recently, I have been pondering and thinking about my future with my entourage and most probably I will continue riding. I'm sure this isn't the last time I come here," he said. "To be honest, I don't like finishing second. After two second places in Paris-Nice and Catalanuya, this is a nice victory. However, I'm aware that the level of the peloton is always very high and there are strong rivals. However, it's good to finish this part of the season and go to a much-need rest with a victory."
In 2015, Contador attempted the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France double, winning the corsa rosa despite dislocating his shoulder in a stage 6 crash but fell short in July as he finished in fifth place overall. Having crashed out of the 2014 Tour, Contador is aiming to win a third Tour title this year to go with his 2007 and 2009 triumphs in what now may no longer be his last appearance at the French grand tour.
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