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"It is complicated for me to change the way I ride. It what concerns my mental state, we are, obviously, far behind in the GC and our chances to win are very slim."

Photo: Unipublic / Graham Watson




30.08.2016 @ 18:17 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

On the first rest day of the Vuelta a España, Tinkoff's GC leader Alberto Contador sat down with the press to evaluate the first week of racing and more.


Read what he had to say here.

How do you feel now after yesterday’s stage?
 There are a lot of different sensations.  If I analyse the tactics of the stage right now, I would have probably been more cautious. That was my idea for the three stages after my crash and maybe I'm a bit too impulsive at times. Yesterday, I made a move when it would have probably been more intelligent to stay at the wheel but at the end, this is how I am.  It is complicated for me to change the way I ride. It what concerns my mental state, we are, obviously, far behind in the GC and our chances to win are very slim.

You said you could have been more cautious but if you still want to win the Vuelta you will have to be yourself. You don't have other options.
We have to take the race day-by-day and grab the  opportunities but also I have to look to see how my legs respond. We also have to take into consideration the parcours ahead of us. There are many stages with just one climb, where you have few options to make tactical moves. However, again, we will take it day-by-day, grab the  opportunities, enjoy the race and see what we can do.
You said you had to be less impulsive. Regardless of what happens in this Vuelta do you think you should change your style and ride more like Froome, looking at your watts on the handlebar? Could this be the option to be beat him?
No, not all. I think powermeters take the spectacle out of the race. They make everything much more controlled and if you have a really powerful squad and if a rider attacks you can have him under control. You will always know your watts and you will know that at those watts after 20 minutes he will be over. This is how it is, it's reality. However, right now, I think it's very difficult for me to change the way I ride.

How do you feel at this moment on all levels?
 I feel well and I am enjoying the race. I think the days that are left in this race will be in my favour, and I’m happy that there are still a lot of hard days left in this race, and not a few,  as this means more opportunities. I will try to achieve good results and give my maximum but one has to be aware it will be difficult as I’m three minutes off Nairo. It's only a question of being three minutes behind him, it's also the fact he has shown he’s very strong and has an extremely strong team. That means more difficulty in doing everything but if I continue in the Vuelta it's not because I simply want to race, it’s because I want to try to do something.
How do you feel after your crash?
I feel better and it gets better day after day. My body is less swollen because after a crash you retain more liquids and in that sense I think each day will be better. It is a pity that the crash was just before the first three mountain stages. I saved the first two, but, unfortunately, in the last one I probably committed an error in my tactics. We hope and think that we will get better each day.
Do you think it's possible to have a repeat of the Fuente Dé [where he won the Vuelta with an attack in 2012]?
I don’t know. I have to study the road book and look what we strategy we could devise. We have to assess various situations, what the other teams will do and whether they try to control the race  or leave all responsibility to Movistar. Maybe I repeat this a lot, but I’m here to enjoy the race, take it day-by-day and see what we can achieve.


The day after your crash you commented on the last 3km rule in the sprints. Could you explain a bit more on this?

Yes, the other day, I put on the table this reflection. I know that there are all sorts of different opinions, but I think that cycling in the last years has changed in that aspect. Before, the GC riders were maybe a bit further behind in the last kilometres, but now, on the contrary, sprint finishes are seen as opportunities to gain a few seconds. I don’t criticise this and I respect the way everybody does his tactics. Nevertheless, I think sprinters don't like GC riders fighting with them while they are staking a stage at 70km/h. At the same time, we, GC riders, don't like too much to fight with the sprinters, riders suited for fast and flat terrain, because we know it isn't our place.  
It's true though there are a lot of tense moments and that maybe is good for the show. Still, that carries a risk because a GC rider, maybe a favourite, can go home. In addition, it's true that promotional videos of races, nearly always show the crashes of the previous year.  I don't know, maybe we have to ponder whether crashes are a spectacle. People can think I'm saying this because I crashed but it's something I think about. I also think the majority of the peloton shares this view because we risk our lives every day in the bunch sprints. Maybe we need to think whether we can take a measure. I don’t want to be the standard-bearer of a rule change, but I think it's interesting to reflect on this.
You have a great riding style and cycling would be poorer without you. But looking back at this season with all the set-backs, do you think you missed the right point to say goodbye?
No, not at all. On the contrary, honestly, if couldn't finish my career with an abandon at the Tour and a possible bad result at the Vuelta. I wouldn't like that to be my last year.  We still have a very nice Vuelta ahead of us, and I also look forward to next year. I think we can achieve big things and we can plan a very good calendar for next year. In that sense I'm happy. Finally, I'm appreciating it because the support of the people has been extraordinary and I enjoy each day and each kilometer. No, it wouldn't have been a good idea  to retire this year.



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