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"The goal I have isn't the podium. Obviously, winning is very difficult because Nairo Quintana has a very strong team, he's very strong himself and has an enormous difference over me."

Photo: Sirotti

ALBERTO CONTADOR

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VUELTA A ESPAÑA

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06.09.2016 @ 21:29 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Tinkoff's GC leader at the Vuelta a España, Alberto Contador, sat down with the press on the second rest day of the race to discuss the past days' racing, along with other goals.

 

Read what he had to say below.

In the various assessments of the chances the GC contenders have, you are always a reference in what regards the various outcomes, whether you are going to wreak havoc again, what strategy you will follow, etc. How do you feel right now? What will your strategy be and what is your ultimate goal?
 
Well, I'm not sure myself. I can see there are possibilities and at certain times I could try something. On the other hand, it is true there are many interests, probably common, that can come together and make your bet very complicated to achieve. I'll take it day-by-day, and keep trying. The goal I have isn't the podium. Obviously, winning is very difficult because Nairo Quintana has a very strong team, he's very strong himself and has an enormous difference over me.
 
In addition, there are two more riders ahead of me. I'll keep giving all I have in the race and see how we end up in Madrid. It's true that every day there is a different story and a thousand things can happen, so, in that sense, sometimes you can come out disadvantaged while at others you can be advantaged.
 
Do you contemplate forming an alliance with Froome in order to isolate Quintana the way you did with Quintana on Formigal? Will you try to find other allies or will you race on your own?
 
No, I don't form alliances with any rider or team. In the end, I do my own race and once you see the composition of the group in which you are, you can see what common interests could exist. Probably, the one pondering about doing something right now is Froome. Unless he invents something, it will be complicated to overturn Quintana, despite the fact we still have two summit finishes and a time trial. Last time it was with Quintana, next time, if there is a next time, it could be with somebody else.  
 
If you hadn't made that move two days ago do you think Quintana would have tried it in that stage?
 
I think you should ask him but in my opinion it would have been a quieter stage.

You have always been a leader in the Vuelta, you’ve won three times. For a week now you find yourself in a complicated situation that you probably haven't faced before, with the exception of 2012. How would you assess this Vuelta?
 
It's true it's a wrong-footed Vuelta. We started in a worse way than we would have liked, already losing one minute to the main rivals on the first day. Just like everything else, that adds up. I had a bad day on Ezaro and then a crash just before the first three summit finishes. It's probably a wrong-footed Vuelta, not the way I would have liked. Then, in what regards our climbers, we don't have the potential some other teams have but I will keep enjoying every day as much as I can. Two days ago we didn't reach victory but at times you get much more satisfaction even if you don't win. Very often, this is what fans remember.
 
It's true that until this year my success rate at the Vuelta was 100% and it now seems it will drop to 75%. However, we still have a week ahead of us in which a lot of things could happen. The race finishes in Madrid, not before, but it's true it will be very difficult.
 
What are your plans after the Vuelta? Have you established you racing schedule?
 
No, not yet. I still have to talk with the team and I'm 100% focused on the Vuelta right now. We will then see what schedule we set.
 
Have you studied tomorrow's climb (stage 17)? Did you recon it? Do you think the differences will be of a few seconds or do you think there is a possibility of much greater gaps?
 
I know the climb and recently rode it. I think the differences will be bigger than Peña Cabarga. Tomorrow's stage is extremely hard from the outset. The start will be very tough and there is close to 3,700 meters of elevation gain, combined with temperatures of 40 degrees centigrade. In my opinion, tomorrow will be an extremely hard day, one of the hardest of the Vuelta and the differences will be much bigger.
 
What is your view on the fact the 90 riders out of time limit were readmitted?
 
Well, there can be many opinions. When a rule is applied or isn't applied, there will always be varied views. Your view depends on whether you suffer or you gain from the decision. In this particular case, I suffered from it. On the other hand, it is true these kind of readmissions are not uncommon. Nevertheless, I think we have to assess the situation and, I don't know in what way, we have to find a solution. The fact that 100 riders come together doesn't mean they can go at such a slow pace.
 
I compared my powermeter two days ago with that of my teammate Jesús Hernández, who was in that group, and he did exactly less than half the effort I did! Afterwards, in a day like yesterday or tomorrow, that will be noticed. It is much easier to understand if you are 1-2 minutes over the limit after giving your maximum. However, if you finish out of the limit by so many minutes because you were riding too calmly, we either have to send a warning or make a rule because it isn't acceptable.
 
All riders fighting for the GC are battling it out at the front until the last metre and can't have a moment’s rest. Then on days like yesterday or on tomorrow's climb, these efforts will take their toll. 

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