Alberto Contador sees Christopher Froome as an equal rival, with both riders sharing the same strengths, after their head-to-head competition in the Criterium du Dauphine. The two “will have to fight” for the Tour de France win, especially in the mountains, Contador said.
The Saxo-Tinkoff rider refused to concede that Froome (Sky) is better, based on the duo's performances in the Criterium du Dauphine. “The answer as to who will win will come on the course. With Froome, I think we are both in top condition and have a very high level in the time trial,” he said on the Belgian television show Sportweekend. “In the mountains we are about equal and will have to fight it out.”
Although he finished only tenth in the Dauphine, nearly four and a half minutes down on overall winner Froome, Contador is content with his condition. "I feel very good. The result is of secondary importance. Every day was better, I am very happy with my form. I'm not saying I will start in better shape than in previous years. But it will not be worse.”
The only shadow on his horizon is the fall he suffered in Sunday's final stage, whilst removing his rain jacket. “My left side is affected. It is too early to determine what the consequences are. Hopefully this does not disturb my preparation for the Tour."
Froome may be his top rival, but Contador will keep an eye on several others, as well. “Tejay Van Garderen is among the best this year.. He is still very young and at any time can make the leap to the top. He can win the Tour." Van Garderen's BMC captain Cadel Evans also came in for a mention, as did Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Jurgen van den Broeck (Lotto Belisol).
He is sure, though, that he will win and that it will be his fourth victory. He won outright in 2007 and 2009, but his next victory was taken away to do a positive doping control. “The one in 2010 remains mine, even if it is no longer in the record books.”
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