Report – Ruta del Sol


Alberto Contador climbs to a solo stage win on the steep Alto de Hazallanas in Vuelta a Andalucía Ruta del Sol 19 seconds up on chaser Chris Froome

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Report – Ruta del Sol

Alberto Contador extendeded his lead on GC by climbing to a solo stage win on the steep Alto de Hazallanas in Vuelta a Andalucía Ruta del Sol 19 seconds up on chaser Chris Froome

The Spanish leader of Tinkoff-Saxo surprised his rivals with an early attack and was a very happy stage winner afterwards. “I’m very glad for this victory especially because it came in place after such a big effort from all of my teammates. Every single guy on the team did an incredible job in controlling the race and setting up my final attack”.

“They kept a consistently high pace throughout the stage, which cost a lot of energy for my rivals”, says Alberto Contador, adding “After the short descent halfway up the final climb, I saw that Paulinho had stretched the peloton and Basso then created a gap by pulling hard. So I decided to go early, accelerate and go alone. I knew it would be difficult to catch me, I felt good and I wanted to repay my teammates with a win”.

The 160km stage three to the steep and snow-covered Alto de Hazallanas was marked by a hard tempo set by Tinkoff-Saxo in order to control the race and with the slopes of Hazallanas insight, the team turned up the heat and quickly reeled in the breakaway. Then Jesús Hernandez took over and sent a number of riders into difficulty before Sergio Paulinho stretched out the decimated front group on the short descent halfway up the climb.

Italian veteran Ivan Basso then took over as the road began to rise with seven kilometers to go and unleashed a hard tempo, which created gaps among the stretched out favorites. Alberto Contador, attached to the wheel of the 2010-Giro winner, then followed up by launching the final attack.

Chris Froome (Team Sky) was the only rider that could respond to the pace and the time gap soared between 20-35 seconds for the remainder of the climb. Alberto Contador eventually sealed the team effort by winning stage 4, 19 seconds ahead of the Sky captain. Alberto Contador now leads by 27 seconds to Chris Froome in second.

However, the Tinkoff-Saxo captain underlines that the victory is not yet secured. “Still, the time difference between me and Froome is not big and we’ll have to wait and see what happens tomorrow, which is also a very hard stage. But I had a good day and I’m confident because of my victory and the way my team performed. I’m not yet in top shape, I still have to loose weight, but for this moment I’m pleased with my performance, finishes Alberto Contador.

Chris Froome meanwhile had help from the British RR Champion Pete Kennaugh in his quest to stay with Contador. “I’m really happy with how it went,” Froome told “Obviously it’s hard getting beaten and hard coming second to Alberto. I know for the work I’ve done coming in to this race that I’m really happy that I was up there today. All the hard training this winter is paying off now”.

“My objective is to be really good later on in the season, building towards the Tour in the next few months. Alberto’s race programme is ahead of mine with the Giro set to be his first big target of the year. I’m really happy with where I’m at right now. There’s a lot of headway to make but there’s plenty more to come, and this is a great place for me to begin the season”.

“The legs feel good. I haven’t done much intensity training but I’ve set up a really good foundation and I think riding like this is proof of that.”

Stage 3
1. Alberto Contador,Tinkoff-Saxo 04:19:15
2. Chris Froome, Team Sky 00:00:19
3. Romain Bardet, AG2R La Mondiale 00:01:39
4. Beñat Intxausti, Movistar 00:01:58
5. Mikel Nieve, Team Sky 00:02:02
6. Wilco Kelderman, Team LottoNL-Jumbo 00:02:05
7. Merhawi Kudus, MTN-Qhubeka 00:02:15
8. Peter Kennaugh, Team Sky 00:02:16
9. Reichenbach, IAM Cycling 00:02:30
10. Sergio Pardilla, Caja Rural – Seguros RGA 00:02:42

1. Alberto Contador, Tinkoff-Saxo 12:22:55
2. Chris Froome, Team Sky 0:00:27
3. Beñat Intxausti, Movistar 0:01:59
4. Romain Bardet, AG2R La Mondiale 0:02:13
5. Peter Kennaugh, Team Sky 0:02:28

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