The Trek-Segafredo rider was on the attack at stage 17 to Serre Chevalier and again on stage 18 to the Col d'Izoard, but the two-time winner finds himself in tenth place overall. With the stage 20 time trial in Marseille the only GC stage left in the race, Contador could take the 13 seconds required to jump into ninth place at Warren Barguil's expense. However, he is almost seven minutes down on fifth place and will record his worse overall result since his 2005 Tour debut.
"It's true that I haven't done the Tour I wanted, and for me maybe has been the worst Tour when speaking about victories, but not about satisfaction," reflected Contador on the situation. "Yesterday the public gave to me so much support and love, with this attack from far away, and I know the sponsors want victories, but also this gives publicity. Yesterday everybody enjoyed cycling, and I'm proud to be part of that."
While Contador finds himself in unfamiliar territory at this stage of a Tour, the 34-year-old has never stopped attacking as his two combativity prizes in 2017 attest to. After his aggressive showing on stage 17, Contador explained he felt the efforts on the Izoard but that didn't stop him from riding away from the yellow jersey group of Chris Froome (Team Sky).
"Today my sensations were very bad during the whole day, probably due to yesterday's efforts. I knew that everybody would be tired at the end, and that happened, but it was a pity to not have the same legs of yesterday. I paid for that effort," said Contador.
When Contador made his move, Warren Barguil followed his wheels and quickly proved to be the faster of the two. The eventual stage winner said post-stage that he heard Contador telling teammate Bauke Mollema to 'slow down' with the Spaniard explaining he couldn't match the speed of the KOM leader.
"Barguil is a rider that makes many changes of pace, and for that I preferred to be with Bauke as much as possible, but the truth is that he is finishing the Tour very, very strong. Congrats to him," he added.
A winner of four consecutive Grand Tours between 2007 and 2009 Contador's record since his early-career exploits have seen him finish fourth in 2013, abandon in 2014, fifth in 2015 and a second abandon in 2016.
With the mountains of the Tour complete for 2017, Contador and Trek-Segafredo missed their goal of the podium and stage with the Spaniard. However, they can take joy in Mollema's stage win who explained he has enjoyed a different role at the Tour after riding the general classification in his previous three-week races.
"It was good to ride a Tour in a different way, to go for breakaways compared to riding for the GC - less stressful for sure. It was a good experience," said Mollema.