Contador weathers 'tough test' in Utrecht

Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) described the Utrecht time trial as a “tough test” and admitted he wasn’t able to ride to his maximum as his pulse rate was higher than normal.

“My legs felt OK, but my pulse rate was very, very high,” the Spaniard admitted minutes after finishing in 46th place, 58 seconds down on stage winner Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing).

Speaking to Cyclingnews after warming down at the Tinkoff-Saxo bus, Contador played down the impact the increasingly windy and hot conditions might have had on his ride.

“I don’t know how much of an issue the wind was, but it was very strong. In the end, though, it’s the same for everyone,” said Contador, who explained that he realised quite early on in the time trial that he wasn’t at his best.

“My legs felt OK, but my pulse rate was very, very high. My intention was to take it fairly steady on the first half and then press harder on the second part, but I couldn’t do that to the extent I wanted,” he said. “In the end, it was a pretty ordinary time trial, but the rest of the favourites are all within a few seconds of each other, and now we can start thinking about what lies ahead tomorrow.”

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Peter Cossins has written about professional cycling since 1993 and is a contributing editor to Procycling. He is the author of The Monuments: The Grit and the Glory of Cycling's Greatest One-Day Races (Bloomsbury, March 2014) and has translated Christophe Bassons' autobiography, A Clean Break (Bloomsbury, July 2014).