News: Contador still on the attack

Alberto Contador (Trek Segafredo) down but not out and attacks team Sky on Stage 12 of the Tour de France

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News: Contador still on the attack

Alberto Contador’s acceleration on the Port de Balès, the fourth of six categorized climbs of stage 12, did not amount to anything as the Team Sky-led peloton slowly closed him back, but it was the first aggression from the former two-time Tour de France winner, and an important display of his fighting spirit, still intact even after all his crashes.

Contador pushed aside the pain on the hors catégorie climb. And attacked.

It was little more than a token move, but a crucial one at that: it exposed a battered but proud champion that was still willing to try and split the race apart.

“The reason I attacked was that we were there with still eight men of Sky and I think that at the least it was good to move a little the situation,” explained Contador. “After this, they remained four, but it’s really complicated to break the race with a so strong a team.”

After crashing in stage 9 and enduring two more crashes on stage 11, a huge question mark shrouded Contador for Thursday’s first foray into the Pyrenees, a long 214-kilometer stage with six categorized climbs.

Ahead of the start, Contador cautioned that it was a day for him to survive, pointing to his left knee and right hip as two areas giving him the most problems from his crashes. “Yes, the idea is to pass the day as well as possible and thinking on next days,” he said at the start of stage 12.
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“Today has been a hard day. I tried to pass it as well as possible, and until the last moment I have been there, but it was hard to follow. I’ve been better than expected because this morning I felt very, very bad, but I’m not happy either,” said Contador.

“It’s quite normal, this morning when I woke up I was not [feeling] like the other days, but it is like this.”

Alberto made it until the final 500 meters of the penultimate climb – five kilometers from the end of the stage – before coming off the back of the favorites group. He crossed the line, empty, in 14th place, and although he moved up one spot in the overall to 11th place, he had lost two more minutes to the top of the classification.

“I finished today at the limit, thinking only to put ice on some parts of my body. I have to think more on a stage victory now; the GC is almost impossible. Also, because it is not only a question of time, but I’m not in optimal condition and tomorrow is also a hard day,” said Contador.

“The change of leader can give a different feeling to the race,” he continued about the change in the yellow jersey after today. “Now I’m a little far away [in GC], but I think there also can be some different tactics,” he added, then said, “Anyway, tomorrow will be another day.”



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