, www.albertocontadornotebook.info - Alberto Contador Fans Notebook

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September 18, 2014

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VIDEOS: VUELTA MONTAGE, INTERVIEW

September 18, 2014 - Relive Alberto Contador's sensational Vuelta a España victory and watch him in a substantial interview with Spanish sports paper as.com







HOMECOMING FIT FOR A KING

September 17, 2014 - All of Pinto turns out to congratulate the winner of the 2014 Vuelta a España


Alberto Contador shares the joy with Pinto

Alberto Contador shares the spoils of his latest grand-tour win with his neighbors in Pinto)

For the eighth time in his career, Alberto Contador has been given a king-sized homecoming celebration in Pinto. The winner of the 2014 Vuelta a España attended the event in his hometown on Monday, where he shared his recent triumph – his third in the Spanish grand tour and an all-time record number of wins per participations – with his countrymen.

Alberto arrived in Pinto after a final time trial in Santiago in which all of top favorites were hampered by rain that fell late in stage, making the circuit extremely dangerous. Thanks to his large accumulated advantage, nothing could stop the Tinkoff-Saxo leader from taking the overall prize, awarded in the Plaza de Obradoiro. From there, he flew to another landmark plaza in the lexicon of Contador, the city square of his hometown of Pinto, where he was paid homage by his fellow citizens, and shared with them the joy of his triumph.

Contador told the press that, like all events of its kind since his first victory reception in Pinto in 2007, “the experience is incredible, greeting all of your people gives you goose bumps. It makes you very proud, and it’s an indelible memory.” He also said that next year “the first to think about the Tour is me. I will do everything possible to prepare and get into condition, always aware that it’s very difficult.”

Alberto won’t close out his season just yet, even though for now, he said, “the first thing is to rest. I have to talk to the team, and I’ll probably end my season at the Giro di Lombardia.” As for the talk currently afoot that compares and likens his career to that of Miguel Indurain, he dismissed it all as insignificant. “Of course it’s an honor, but it’s not a question of comparisons. Each person is what he is. He was an amazing rider with a great palmarés, and all I’m trying to do is enjoy what I’m doing and meet the goals that I’ve set.”

Winning all three grand tours in one season is a goal which, for the time being, does not figure in his plans. “At the moment, it’s not an objective,” he said, “I’ve got to think about it, because it’s something that I’m really motivated to do. It would be something different. But you have to look at the pros and cons, and as of today, I don’t think I’ll do it.” Finally, Alberto confessed that, in spite of having suffered a devastating crash in the Tour just two months before this most recent victory, the 2014 Vuelta was not the most special one for him. “They’ve all had something special, and maybe the most was 2012, because my state of form was not the best and I had to come up with an approach to a stage that ended up changing the GC,” he concluded.

Gavia and Mortirolo in the second annual RHxDUE

Alberto Contador will travel to Lugano (Switzerland) today and this weekend he’ll go to Bormio in Italy with hundreds of participants for the second annual Rhxdue get-together, which features climbs of the legendary Gavia and Mortirolo. Tinkoff-Saxo leader Contador will be joined by ten riders from his junior and Sub-23 teams for the event, organized by ZeroRh+, sponsor and maker of racing glasses for the Tinkoff-Saxo and Fundación Alberto Contador teams.

Official press release, Alberto Contador press room

PHOTO DAYBOOK




ALBERTO CONTADOR WINS THE 2014 VUELTA A ESPAÑA

September 14, 2014 - Alberto seals his eighth grand-tour victory, exactly two months after crashing out of the Tour with a broken tibia


Contador accepts well-deserved honors in Santiago de Compostela

A deeply happy Alberto Contador accepted the prize for overall Vuelta victory in an evening ceremony in Santiago de Compostela (Colin Flockton)

Stage 21, Sunday, September 14: Santiago de Compostela (ITT), 9.7km

ACCORDING TO...

Stephen de Jongh, Tinkoff-Saxo DS: "It's simply an astonishing achievement by Alberto. Coming back from an injury like that after declaring himself out a couple of weeks before the Vuelta and not only rides well but takes the win, is just amazing. We entered the race hoping that we could get a stage win in the last week of the race but as the race progressed and Alberto felt stronger by the day, we had to change strategy and go for the overall classification. So, with two stage wins in the pocket, the combined jersey as well as the overall win, we couldn't be happier."

RESULTS: Contador in Stage 21, 101st (1:40 Malori - 11:22). Contador in GC, 1st (81:25:05)

TOP TEN: 1 Contador, 2 Froome (1:10), 3 Valverde (1:50), 4 Rodríguez (3:25), 5 Aru (4:48), 6 S. Sánchez (9:30), 7 D. Martin (10:38), 8 Barguil (11:50), 9 D. Caruso (12:50), 10 Navarro (13:02)

TICKER - COMPLETE CLASSIFICATIONS - RACE ATLAS




ANCARES SEALS THE DEAL

September 13, 2014 - Vuelta Stage 20: Contador finishes off Froome on Puerto de Ancares




Stage 20, September 13: Santo Estevo de Riba de Sil – Puerto de Ancares, 185.7km

ACCORDING TO...

Stephen de Jongh, Tinkoff-Saxo DS: "We knew that Sky wanted to control things to stir things up and to try to shake Alberto. However, everyone else but Alberto was dropped and I think Alberto played his cards excellently. He never lost his cool and had the situation totally under control. On the final kilometer, he went for the stage win and in one fierce attack, he quickly created the gap and took a beautiful victory consolidating his lead. Of course, the race isn't won just yet. There's a time trial tomorrow and even though it's short, you can't rule out accidents. Now, we're waiting for the weather report and we're going out tomorrow morning to check out the technical spots on the course."

RESULTS: Contador in Stage 20, 1st (5:11:43). Contador in GC, 1st (81:12:13)

TOP TEN: 1 Contador, 2 Froome (1:37), 3 Valverde (2:35), 4 Rodríguez (3:57), 5 Aru (4:46), 6 S. Sánchez (10:07), 7 D. Martin (10:24), 8 Barguil (12:13) 9 Navarro (13:09), 10 D. Caruso (13:15)

TICKER - COMPLETE CLASSIFICATIONS - RACE ATLAS


CONTADOR WINS AT LA FARRAPONA

September 8, 2014 - In Asturias, Alberto delivers a blow to rivals and solidifies Vuelta a España lead


Red jersey after Stage 10 ITT

Contador distanced Froome, Valverde, Purito and the rest in last of three grueling mountain stages (EFE)

Alberto Contador attacked in the final kilometer of Stage 16 of the Vuelta a España to win decisively at the summit of La Farrapona. None of his rivals could answer the move.

After today's rest day, Contador will carry the leadership of the Vuelta into Galicia towards the finale in Santiago de Compostela on Sunday.


LA VUELTA: VICTORY TO NAVARRO IN CHAOTIC SCRUM

September 5, 2014 - Contador lays back in the finale while former teammate gambles and wins


Seeing red before Stage 13

Alberto, a meditation in red before Stage 13 (AC press room)

Stage 13, September 5: Belorado – Obregón. Parque de Cabárceno, 188.7km

Alberto Contador watched the way an ex-teammate, Dani Navarro, won a stage in the Vuelta today, and congratulated him as soon as he saw him at the podium steps. “Dani’s a rider of enormous quality,” said Alberto. “The other day he asked me why I went after him and today everything was the opposite,” he said, referring to the fact that he stayed in the background during the finale, leaving Navarro to play his cards in front. “I’m happy for him that he was able to win. A stage win in the Vuelta is very important,” he concluded.

The race had also gone well before that for Tinkoff-Saxo, with a breakaway that presented no danger for the leader. “For us, it was perfect that the break got away several riders. When I was up front at the end, it was only to keep in control so that the rest of the favorites didn’t get the bonifications,” explained Contador.

Starting tomorrow, the Vuelta a España will get even more complicated, with three consecutive days of mountains in which the fate of the race will be in play. “We’ll see how the legs are doing, although I can’t complain. Today I was able to control things just fine in the end, and the team transported me well. Now I have to recover, because tomorrow is the first of the days that will decide the Vuelta,” said Alberto.

Official press release, Alberto Contador press room

AUDIO COMMENTS - TICKER - COMPLETE CLASSIFICATIONS -
RACE ATLAS




LA VUELTA: CONTADOR DEFENDS THE JERSEY IN STAGE 11

September 3, 2014 - Contador, in the leader jersey, keeps an eye peeled for maneuvers from rivals


Second day in red

Alberto Contador was in red again in Stage 11 (AC press room)

Stage 11, Wednesday, September 3: Pamplona - San Miguel de Aralar (Navarre) 153.4km

Alberto Contador admitted after Stage 11 today that, in the race, “everybody is very close. It was a rather strange climb, there wasn’t a tough pace either, it consisted of ramps, for people with a lot of spark, and I simply kept an eye on the attacks of the others,” said the Tinkoff-Saxo leader.

He was asked about the work of the Sky team and Froome’s situation, and responded that he didn’t know very well what had happed behind. “I was watching for the people who were riding in front. It’s true that at the end he was positioned in front of the peloton, but I don’t know what was up with him before or afterwards.”

About the possibility that he could’ve won the stage, Alberto said that he didn’t have a chance. “The best man won,” he said, referring to Aru. “I concentrated on keeping an eye on the ones that are closer to me in the GC.” Missing from that list is Nairo Quintana, who was the victim of a second crash, something that Contador was truly sorry about. “It’s a shame for the race. It’s kind of a crazy year, in which all of us here who’ve prepared conscientiously for grand tours have had to go home. It happened to Purito in the Giro, then to Froome and to me in the Tour, and now to Nairo. That’s this sport, and when you’re well you have to take advantage of it.”

Finally, Contador said that today his rivals did attack him, “but the only thing that happened is that today people’s energy was sapped, and it was a stepped climb, which allowed time to catch your breath, and that made it so that there was no continuity in the attacks, but I’m happy. Today I felt good physically and that’s what’s important.” As for that, Alberto predicted “a hotly disputed Vuelta, but there’s still a lot left. Valverde is showing himself to be very strong and both he and Joaquim are faster than I am in the sprint, but I’m happy. Today I felt good physically and that’s what’s important.”

Official press release, Alberto Contador press room

ACCORDING TO...

More from Alberto: “I’m happy with how the stage went. It was a very tactical battle on the final climb and I arrived at the finish line together with Alejandro and Joaquim and Froome a couple of meters behind us. They are very fast so they overtook me in the sprint, but I’m satisfied."

Stephen de Jongh, Tinkoff-Saxo DS: “There was a breakaway with 5 riders. The strongest rider out there was Kiryienka and when it started becoming dangerous for the stage victory, Katusha started to work and that was to our advantage. In the final, Alberto followed the most important riders and I think finished in fourth place, just behind Valverde and Rodriguez. He loses a few seconds because of bonus seconds but overall it was a good day."

Jesús Hernández, Contador's teammate and best friend: “It was our first day defending the red jersey. The start was a bit nervous and there were a lot of people that wanted to break away. The team performed very well, Tosatto, Bennati and Michael rode well. And then we also witnessed the unfortunate crash that sent Quintana home. Katusha set a fast pace in the race as they wanted to take the stage and we limited ourselves to following them. I look forward to the tougher stages and Oliver, Chris Anker and myself are ready, particularly for the last week and the mountain stages. I think we are getting better each day."

RESULTS: Contador in Stage 11, 4th (0:06 Aru - 3:41:03). Contador in GC, 1st (40:26:56)

TOP TEN: 1 Contador, 2 Valverde (0:20), 3 Urán (1:08), 4 Froome (1:20), 5 Rodríguz (1:35), 6 S. Sánchez (1:52), 7 Aru (2:13), 8 Anacona (2:22), 9 Gesink (2:56), 10 D. Caruso (3:51)

AUDIO COMMENTS 1 - AUDIO COMMENTS 2 - TICKER - COMPLETE CLASSIFICATIONS - RACE ATLAS




ALBERTO CONTADOR LEADS THE VUELTA A ESPAÑA

September 2, 2014 - Excellent showing in Stage 10 time trial puts Contador in the red jersey


Red jersey after Stage 10 ITT

Alberto Contador seized the Vuelta leadership in the Stage 10 ITT (Ivan Aguinaga/AP)

Alberto Contador is the new leader of the Vuelta a España, in spite of having had doubts about his performance since the beginning of the race. Fourth in the Borja time trial, the Tinkoff-Saxo leader distanced all of his most direct rivals, especially Froome, and Quintana, who crashed. Now he is the maillot rojo with 27 seconds over Valverde and 59 seconds over Urán.

Contador didn’t conceal that the stage had turned out “better than expected.” “It makes me very happy. I’m ahead of Alejandro Valverde and Chris Froome, and that’s something to be happy about,” he said.

“I’m in red, thinking clearly about winning. All eyes are on me. If I manage to win the Vuelta, it would be amazing after my crash in the Tour de France. But I want to take it one day at a time, and without pressure.

“I had great legs in the Dauphiné and didn’t win the race. It would be perfect to lose the red jersey and recover it in Santiago, but it’s going to be complicated. My objective is to have it in Santiago. Nevertheless, for now, I’d rather be ahead than behind. In the Tour, I had more pressure; here, whatever comes is welcome, because there is a lot of competition,” he said in the post-stage press conference.

But he quickly cautioned: “This is a passing moment, more than half of the Vuelta remains ahead of us. This has only just begun, everything is still to be decided, and very open. There’s no need to go on about it.”

“The truth is that nobody could’ve imagined that I would be here wearing red. It’s an enormous surprise. The first week was really hard, and I cut class, as they say, to stay with the riders near the front.”

About the fractured right tibia, now on the mend, that happened when Contador crashed out of the Tour, he said, “Luckily in the race I have practically no discomfort in the knee. I do when sleeping in some positions, but the important thing is that it’s improving every day. I hope that it holds out until the end.”

He did acknowledge that he went out “with confidence to do a good time trial,” and he looked especially satisfied with the 53-second advantage over Froome in the crono, 1:18 in the GC. “The time differences to Froome are big since he’s a pure specialist. Actually it’s true that I went out thinking that I didn’t need to lose time to him and didn’t need to be tied with him”

Contador admitted that he arrived at today’s course thinking about victory: “I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t, but I knew that the final part was for power riders, and that was secondary.”

And finally, about Quintana’s unlucky incident: “It’s a real shame about Nairo Quintana’s crash. The descent was very complicated, given the wind, and you had to be very focused. The curves came upon you all of a sudden.”


LA VUELTA: REST DAY PRESS CONFERENCE

September 1, 2014 - Contador says he will try to win the Vuelta


Press conference, first rest day

Alberto Contador held a press conference on the first rest day of La Vuelta (Jesús Rubio/as.com)

Alberto Contador gave a press conference today after doing reconnaissance of tomorrow’s time trial course, where he hopes to confirm the good physical feelings of these first stages. “Tomorrow is a good test to see exactly what my form is like,” said the leader of Tinkoff-Saxo, “but likewise, I don’t want to deceive myself and come to wrong conclusions after yesterday’s stage.”

What Alberto Contador did acknowledge is that, as of today, he is “in a position to say that I’m going to try to win the Vuelta. Whether I have the legs or not is a different thing. Until yesterday, even until the final kilometers, I didn’t see it like that, and I also have to wait and see how I am tomorrow. Since the beginning of the race, I’ve just thought about getting through the days. I think that I’m getting better, and it’s been after seeing this progress that I’ve been able say that I intend to try.”

What will change in the race now, from the strategic and also the mental point of view?
Neither will change much in the race, this is just about drawing up a balance sheet, seeing what situation I find myself in, and seeing the cards that I can play. There are people who have come here with more of a base of work than I have, and who can go further, like Froome and Quintana. I’m a question mark.

Is Froome still the main favorite, as you said at the beginning of the Vuelta?
No, the main favorites are the same as they were at the beginning, Quintana and Froome, who also has a time trial tomorrow that will go very well for him, not to mention Joaquim Rodríguez and Alejandro Valverde. Regardless of what we’ve seen so far, there are almost no time differences – they’re ridiculous – and the favorites are still the same as they were at the beginning.

At present, are you feeling better or worse that in the 2012 Vuelta?
No, the truth is that I don’t feel better. In 2012, the difference was that there was one particularly strong rider, Joaquim Rodríguez, who always answered the changes of pace and attacked me in the finales. We still haven’t seen mountain stages like those, but I think that he was better in 2012.

Are you better than your rivals, or is it that they are worse?
I haven’t analyzed the SRM data from the climbs much, but I think that, owing to the heat in the early stages and to the rain yesterday, there have been more surprises. I’m improving every day and that’s good for me, but it’s also true that I lack the confidence you get from having done a good job in preparation. We all still have to progress, Quintana and Froome, too.

What is the time trial like?
When you see the TT route in person it seems even harder than on paper. The first part is uphill, with a really tough section, and then it has a very rapid descent over a very irregular and difficult road. The last part, on the other hand, is for keeping a tucked position on the bike. Telling about it is pretty simple, but doing it will be really hard.

Do you feel freer coming to the Vuelta under these circumstances?
I’m not coming here under the same conditions as the Tour, but I’m going to stay the course. Whatever I get will be a prize, besides enjoying the warm support of the public. Of course it’s not the same pressure, and that’s noticeable when there’s an breakaway, for example, which you see from a different point of view, without as much responsibility. There are others who are more likely favorites than I am, because I haven’t been able to prepare for the race as it should be done.

Had you considered the possibility of coming to the Vuelta and then seeing that your knee didn’t work? What would you have done in that case?
I had thought about it, and I still do, but the knee continues as is, and I still have some problems, although they’re minimal. For example, the internal stitches that they put in are starting to stick out of my leg, and even though it’s not terribly important, it’s not going perfectly. When deciding to come to ride, I was aware that something could happen, but I really hope that everything continues to go as it has so far.

Official press release, Alberto Contador press room


LA VUELTA: CONTADOR ATTACKS!

August 31, 2014 - Alberto takes a bite out of Froome and Valverde with a late attack in Stage 9


Contador attacked with strength in Stage 9

Contador attacked and dropped Froome and Valverde in Stage 9, but Purito and Quintana fought back (Jose Jordan/as.com)

Stage 9, Sunday, August 31: Carboneras de Guadazaón - Aramón Valdelinares 185km

Alberto Contador managed to distance some of the GC men today in the finale of Stage 9 to Valdelinares. When the time came for drawing conclusions, however, he was realistic and said that he’s still not feeling as he would like. “I saw some riders on the back foot, and I went out to give it a try. I still lack the condition to be able to maintain the rhythm at the maximum, but I’m very happy. I don’t know exactly what the time differences have been, but for now the most important thing is not to catch cold, and to rest,” he said to recap the stage.

“Any time you have the legs, you have to try,” said Contador, explaining his attack. “I don’t know yet what the time difference were, but I haven’t prepared for the Vuelta a España as an objective, instead I’m coming here on the rebound, as they say, at the last minute, without good form. I’m confident that I’ll improve day by day, but I’m aware that there are other riders who have prepared very carefully. Maybe today they didn’t have a great day, but the Vuelta has only just begun.”

About any possible repercussions from this stage he preferred not to say much, nor did he consider it a psychological blow before the time trial. “It’s always important to be high up in the order, and if it’s because you’ve been able to drop your rivals, that’s best, but I don’t think of it as very significant. We’re not even halfway through the Vuelta and that was just an appetizer for the mountains. The whole Vuelta is still ahead of us,” he said.

Alberto had no predictions for the time trial coming up on the day after tomorrow, aside from saying that other riders will be better than he will. “I don’t know myself how I’ll be for the crono. That’s where we’ll really see what each person’s form is like. In a normal stage, maybe you camouflage it a little more, but in a time trial, it’s only you and your state of form. We’re going to see. I hope to do a good crono, but I think that there’ll be people who are better than I am.”

Official press release, Alberto Contador press room

ACCORDING TO...

Stephen de Jongh, Tinkoff-Saxo DS: “It was a very good day for Alberto and I think everyone saw a very strong Contador in the final. It was a bit of a nightmare in the rainy finale and we saw a lot of riders standing completely still. The first hour was very hard, we did over 47 km/h. It was never easy today, it was fast and they kept going full gas but we can be satisfied with today's result and now it's time to recover for the time trial Tuesday."

Oliver Zaugg, Contador's Swiss teammate: “The weather made the last climb really difficult today. The rain started on the descent before the final climb and made it really difficult to climb up to the mountain finish. Now, I think we're all looking forward to a rest day."

RESULTS: Contador in Stage 9, 12th (2:16 Anacona - 4:34:14). Contador in GC, 2nd (0:03 Quintana - 35:58:05)

TOP 6: 1 Quintana, 2 Contador (0:03), 3 Valverde (0:08), 4 Anacona (0:09), 5 Froome (0:28), 6 Rodríguez (0:30)

AUDIO COMMENTS 1 - AUDIO COMMENTS 2 - TICKER

COMPLETE CLASSIFICATIONS - RACE ATLAS




LA VUELTA: TINKOFF-SAXO TEAMWORK GETS THE JOB DONE

August 30, 2014 - "Locomotive" Bennati provides life insurance for Contador in harrowing Stage 8


Tinkoff-Saxo teamwork in Vuelta Stage 8

Contador's team, especially Daniele Bennati, kept him safely among the front riders in Vuelta Stage 8 (lavuelta.com)

Stage 8, Saturday, August 30: Baeza - Albacete, 207km

Alberto Contador’s first words after today’s Vuelta Stage 8 were to thank his teammate, Daniele Bennati, who was with him constantly in the echelons of the final kilometers, and whom he called “Locomotive” for obvious reasons. “Benna is life insurance on days like this. He kept me in a good position all the time and I can only say thanks to him. He’s a workhorse, and priceless. It was like, as they say, he was carrying me in his pocket. It’s important to stay together and in communication with him, because getting separated is completely useless.”

Alberto said that a stage like this is “mentally and physically exhausting, from stress and from danger. In the end nothing happened and I’m glad because, all things considered, I felt pretty good. I was really scared in the final 50 kilometers because, I don’t know why, it seemed like I had a puncture, and I thought that if I had to stop to change a wheel, that’d be bad. But, well, we got through the day and now we have to rest because tomorrow will also be important.”

About the feeling that he had punctured, Contador explained, “I noticed that the bike was bouncing a little. It had happened the first time – I changed wheels at Km 100 – and then I started having the same feeling again, but luckily there was no puncture.”

Alberto hopes that tomorrow’s stage will be “just another day. It’s not an extremely hard climb and I’m going to get through it by doing my absolute best, recovering, and seeing what I can do in the time trial. Tomorrow is not overly complicated. Right now I have to take it one day at a time, see how I recover and nothing more. For now I’m very happy, I couldn’t have imagined being in this position after eight days of racing, but there’s still a huge amount left,” said Alberto Contador about the race situation.

Official press release, Alberto Contador press room

ACCORDING TO...

Stephen de Jongh, Tinkoff-Saxo DS: "Well, to be honest, the first part of the stage was a little less than exciting but when the wind finally picked up and we started going, it turned into a rather thrilling finale. The boys were riding another fantastic stage in terms of staying in the front, being very alert and simply supporting Alberto. I'm in awe of Michael Valgren's performance. Considering this is his first pro season and his first Grand Tour, he's riding unbelievably well, but all the boys worked hard and well out there. Now, we're looking forward to tomorrow's mountain challenge and we're hoping that Alberto can hang on to the favorites of the race."

RESULTS: Contador in Stage 8, 26th (s.t. Bouhanni - 4:29:00). Contador in GC, 3rd (0:18 Valverde - 31:21:20)

TOP SIX: 1 Valverde, 2, Quintana (0:15), 3 Contador (0:18), 4 Froome (0:20), 5 Chaves (0:41), 6 Rodríguez

AUDIO COMMENTS - COMPLETE CLASSIFICATIONS - RACE ATLAS




TINKOFF-SAXO SOLID IN OPENING VUELTA TTT

August 23, 2014 - Contador able to keep pace with his team in first test of healing leg in competition


Warming up for Vuelta Stage 1 TTT

Warming up for the opening TTT (@tinkoffsaxo)

Stage 1, August 24: Jerez de la Frontera – Jerez de la Frontera, 12.6 km (TTT)

Alberto Contador gave a thumbs up to his performance and that of his team, Tinkoff-Saxo, today in the Stage 1 team time trial of the Vuelta a España. “I haven’t been able to see the classification exactly yet, but I think that it’s been a good result. The time difference to first place is 19 seconds, but more that that, I’m happy because I was able to follow the pace of my teammates, I was able to collaborate in the time trial and it’s a good sign that in this short stage I’ve had no knee pain. I was looking forward to starting the race, and the time differences are not something that I’m overly concerned about, and even less today. I’m going to take it one day at a time and we’ll see what happens,” said Contador after finishing the stage.

Alberto said that probably not many people wanted to risk too much in today’s stage. “It was a complicated time trial. If it had rained, it would’ve been practically impossible. It was a route that demanded a lot of respect, with roundabouts that had shiny surfaces even without rain, from oil and diesel from cars, so I’m glad. We got through it without any problems and I think it’s a good result. I’m also happy because I saw the whole team looking good, very focused, and that motivates me.”

For tomorrow, Alberto hopes, for starters, “to see if there’s going to be any wind, because we’ll have to be very careful, not only to keep to the front and not lose time, but rather, mainly, to avoid crashing – which is what worries me most in this first week – and be able to try to recover and see if I can do the end of the Vuelta the way I want,” concluded the Tinkoff-Saxo leader.

Official press release, Alberto Contador press room

PLAYBOOK

Tinkoff-Saxo were the penultimate team to leave the gate for the 12.6-km team time trial, a snaking course that took in at least 19 slippery roundabouts. They were followed only by the eventual stage winners, the Movistar team of main rivals Valverde and Quintana. Contador's team functioned well and crossed the line with its best face first (Daniele Bennati), arriving 7th of 22 teams.

Among the other favorites, Uran fared 11 seconds better than Contador, but all others lost a few seconds in relation to the Tinkoff-Saxo leader.

ACCORDING TO...

Stephen de Jongh, Tinkoff-Saxo DS: "I’m completely satisfied with this result. The boys rode really well together through the technically demanding course and even though it’s only 12 kilometers, it’s such a demanding discipline but we completed the stage with six riders. It’s a good way to start the Vuelta. Tomorrow’s stage is a flat one but we have to pay attention to the wind as the crosswind sections could create chaos in the peloton."

More from Alberto: “This changes nothing, what’s important is to loosen up the legs. My heart was beating 200 beats per minute almost the entire crono because I lack a little training. Now it’s time to recover as well as possible and improve day by day. I didn’t think about the leg at all.”

“We’re close and we always like to be professional. It was more dangerous than normal due to the asphalt, but not a big deal.”

“I’m happy, the team was very strong and I was well protected during the whole route, but we have to take it one day at a time.”

RESULTS: Contador in Stage 1, 45th (0:19 Castroviejo - 14:13). Contador in GC, 45th (0:19 Castroviejo - 14:13)

TOP 5: 1 Castroviejo, 2 Valverde, 3 Amador, 4 Erviti, 5 J. Moreno

AUDIO COMMENTS - COMPLETE CLASSIFICATIONS - RACE ATLAS




"ONE DAY AT A TIME" FOR CONTADOR AT VUELTA

August 22, 2014 - Pre-race press conference: Tinkoff-Saxo leader will keep sights high as long as healing leg permits


Training for La Vuelta

Contador and the Tinkoff-Saxo boys do one last training session before the Vuelta starts on Saturday (AC press room)

Alberto Contador appeared today in a press conference prior to the start of the Vuelta a España, during which he said that he’s keeping his expectations sensible “after what I’ve been through and the little that I’ve trained before coming here. Of course I’m going to look not to lose time in the opening days, only if I lose time on some day will it be the moment to change strategies. This year the Vuelta is very high-level and many riders have come to fight for the victory, but I’m at a very different level than at the Tour,” said the Tinkoff-Saxo leader.

Are you afraid that other riders could ambush you to take advantage of your lack of preparation?

More than any ambush, it will be the race itself that could produce complicated situations. In the Vuelta the uphill finishes start very soon. There are already difficult finales in the third and fifth stages that could go very well for explosive riders like Valverde or Purito. It’s likely that I won’t be able to stay with them there.

If you get through the first ten days without losing time, should your rivals start to worry?

No, it’s not a question of getting through the first ten days, but rather more like seeing how I recover, because the level here is very high and even though I’ve done only a few days of training, I’ve tried to take maximum advantage of them, so maybe I’m a little more tired than at other times. You never know what your body’s answer will be, but if, after ten days, I’m still among the best, it’ll be good news for me, more than anything, because I think that there are people who will be stronger.

What have the doctors said? Is it advisable to ride the Vuelta a España?

It’s a risk. What’s most recommended would be to stay at home and think about next year, but it was difficult for me to watch the Tour on television when I had prepared so well for it, and I was feeling especially excited about riding the Vuelta. So here I am. Dr. Manuel Leyes, who has treated my injury, recommended that I do one last MRI before coming here, but I told him that I didn’t have much time available, and besides, I wasn’t going to change my mind, no matter what the result. Anyway, I hope that riding the Vuelta doesn’t have consequences and, in any case, there are fewer worries each day.”

Is the Vuelta a revalidation for you?

No, it’s not a revalidation. I’m very happy with the season that I’ve had up till the Tour. I’ve done a flawless season and I arrived at the Tour in optimal condition. Now what I want is to enjoy the race and see what I can achieve, but nothing more.

Who do you see as the favorite and which stage could be the most important?

There are lots of riders with options on the victory, but I think that if he arrives at 100%, the favorite is Froome, because he has a very strong team and because he’s very strong in the mountains and the time trial. As for the stages, with this format for the Vuelta, all the stages are important. There are some with several consecutive climbs, but in 2012, an apparent transitional stage changed the whole race. I can’t point to any particular stage.

In the Tour, you had a great preparation and a really strong team. How’s the team for the Vuelta?

It’s true that in the Tour we looked for the strongest team possible in order to control the race in case we had the leader, but in the Vuelta, even though we don’t have riders like Roche, Rogers or Majka, we also have a very strong team for the flat stages and a group of climbers who can do very well. This time around, the team is the least of my worries, because I don’t feel the pressure of having to control the race. I think that I’m not prepared to fight for the overall win and instead, there are others who are.

What have these six weeks been like, from the crash in the Tour to the start of the Vuelta? When did you think that you’d be able to ride?

I’ve gone through different moments. Until the tenth day, when they first took out the stitches, in a rather hasty decision, and the wound opened up, things didn’t look so good, because I had to go back and start all over again. Thanks to the team at Clínica Cemtro, who took care of me, they stitched the wound up again and cleaned out the dirt that had remained after the first surgery, everything evolved rapidly. The work of the team’s physios, the use of the Indiba and Compex systems, and having tried to do the maximum since the moment I had a little mobility in the knee, in order to get back to the bike, all that has made it so that I could be here, although maybe a little more behind than I’d hoped, which is why there’s a question mark beside my performance in the upcoming days.

Official press release, Alberto Contador press room


VUELTA A ESPAÑA ROUTE FLY-OVER VIDEO

Get to know the parcours, from Jerez de la Frontera to Santiago de Compostela, August 23-September 7, 2014





ROZ JONES CAPTURES CONTADOR TRIUMPH AT FUENTE DÉ

September 6, 2012 - Crack young British photographer was there at Fuente Dé to get the shots of a lifetime


Triumph for Alberto Contador at Fuente Dé

Triumph for Alberto Contador at Fuente Dé

Triumph for Alberto Contador at Fuente Dé

Many thanks to Roz Jones for sharing these fantastic photos of the historic moment that clinched Contador's Vuelta 2012 victory. More at PHOTO DAYBOOK

GO TO ROZ JONES PHOTO STREAM and ON THE ROAD CYCLING TOURS


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