Alberto Contador spoke to the press at the Trek-Segafredo team’s press conference on the first rest day of the Vuelta a España yesterday where he outlined that he is still focused on the GC and also stage wins.
The three-time Vuelta winner currently sits in thirteenth position on GC, 3’32” behind race leader Chris Froome (Team Sky). However, he has been making progress up the GC rankings. Contador lost 2’33” to Froome on the third stage of the race to Andorra la Vella which left him in 30th place overall, but since then has been making steady progress up the leaderboard.
Alberto Contador: “I think we can split the Vuelta until now are in two distinct parts. The first part absolutely wasn’t part of the plan, especially given how good I felt coming into the Vuelta, when I was training in Madrid. The other part is, I think my performance has been at a very, very high level, on stage finishes that haven’t really suited me. That makes me optimistic about the rest of the Vuelta. I think I’m in pretty good form, and we’ll see what I can do.”
“I think battling for a stage win and the GC are compatible. I don’t want to discard either of them. we’ll see as the race progresses day by day. I don’t want to rule out either option. To tell the truth, I’m really enjoying my racing, and I’m happy because perhaps a lot of people may have thought I was only coming to the Vuelta a España to say goodbye, or through a sense of duty, but it’s not like that.
“I’m here at the Vuelta a España after training like a professional beforehand, the way I have always done before races, and we’ll see how far I can go. The podium is going to be very hard: there are plenty of riders ahead of me who have gained a lot of time. But it’s also true, on the other side of the scales, that there is still virtually the whole Vuelta left for me to win back time.
“In principle, in theory, the climbs that lie ahead of us should be better for me, no? But, look, I think, first of all, I’d have to pass all the riders who are ahead of me, and there are a lot of them. It’s true that, every day except yesterday, I’ve made up time on all my rivals. So that’s good. And I think that, in the time trial, I can do pretty will compared with most of them too. So it’s a matter of trying to get as close as possible and into the best possible position with respect to Froome.
“You have to remember that cycling is a very hard sport, and there are always lots of factors involved: it’s about your ability to recover, but you can also catch a cold or suffer a mechanical problem, or fall in the rain. For example, you can suffer in the cold after a week riding in the rain up in Asturias. You can have a bad day and lose a lot of time.
“Obviously all these scenarios are very unlikely because Froome is a very strong rider, he’s very solid, but until you get to Madrid, you never know. So what do I do? I’ll take it day by day, trying to win back time, bit by bit, and in Madrid we’ll see where I can finish. Cycling is a sport where a thousand factors can affect the result. It doesn’t just depend on you.”
“Given that it’s my last race, I’m really trying to enjoy it. I’m savouring it. It’s turning into an incredible Vuelta for me. I knew it was going to be a special Vuelta, and it was a good decision to say goodbye here, but I’m more and more certain that there is no better place that this to do so.”