, www.albertocontadornotebook.info - Alberto Contador Fans Notebook

www.albertocontadornotebook.info - Alberto Contador Fans Notebook

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April 18, 2014

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Photo credits: AFP, AP, AP, Bernard Papon, Jaime Reina, Filippo Monteforte, Elizabeth Kreutz

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ACCORDING TO...ROMAN KREUZIGER

April 16, 2014 - Czech super-domestique and big winner in his own right comments about team leader Contador


Roman Kreuziger Tinkoff-Saxo's Roman Kreuziger, the reigning champion of the Amstel Gold Race who will defend his title this Sunday, mentioned his team leader in a short interview for the team website today. Here's what he said about Alberto Contador and the recent edition of the Tour of the Basque Country:

“I mean, with Alberto everyone wants do their best and that’s what we did in País Vasco. He knows exactly how to motivate the team riders and staff members and for me as a road captain, it’s a pleasure to work with him. Of course, sometimes I see things differently than him but we talk a lot both between and during the stages.

"The biggest surprise to me during País Vasco was the pace during the race. It was really tough and I suffered quite a lot."


MORE ABOUT PAVÉ RECON

April 15, 2014 - Video and more photos from the French and British press


Alberto Contador hit the bricks yesterday to find out more about cobblestones, and the sporting press noticed. The cadre of reporters who accompanied him on recon of the 2014 Tour de France Stage 5 route (Ypres - Arenberg) has generated a number of articles, videos and photos.

See Nord Pas-de-Calais's VIDEO, plus an article and PHOTO GALLERY from Cycling Weekly. Also see CYCLISME for a short interview in French.


CONTADOR RECONS TOUR COBBLES' STAGE

April 14, 2014 - Early season is now mission accomplished, but Alberto packs in one key day of work before vacation


Reconning Stage 5 of the 2014 Tour de France

Alberto scouts out the Arenberg cobblestones with Steven de Jongh, Philippe Mauduit and a gaggle of reporters (AC press room)

Alberto Contador did reconnaissance today of Stage 5 of the 2014 Tour de France, which is slated for July 9 over a route from Ypres to Arenberg that features nines sectors of pavé in the final 75 kilometers. “It all went well. I’ve seen the first part of the stage by car and the last 75 km on the bike,” he said before taking the plane back home.

“I mainly took the opportunity to study the equipment, which is the most important thing here. I already knew some of these sectors from 2010, but clearly the first ones will be the most decisive, because the pack will be huge there and there will be more of a fight to get to the front. Afterwards, there will be more of a selection,” said Contador.

“I’ve felt good on the cobbles, but you can’t forget that this is only training, it’s not the race, nor is it raining, which could complicate everything. The wind will be very important too. Today it’s pretty brisk and in that case it will be important to have a strong team,” said Alberto about potential race conditions.

“The most complicated part will be the entrance to the pavé sectors. Some of them have a lot of sand and the bike really skates around and gets away. We’ll have to take care,” cautioned the Tinkoff-Saxo leader “I felt good on the cobblestones, but you have to face this stage with respect and awareness that we’ll already have 100 kilometers in our legs. I think that it will be a more difficult stage than the one in 2010, because the sectors in the beginning are more complicated.”

Alberto said that today he used “the best bike that I could have for this stage, the Specialized Roubaix. We used the Zipp 303 wheels and we played with the measurements of the tubulars and the pressure, to see how they worked, because a rider who weighs 75 kilos is not the same as one who weighs 62 kilos.”

Contador relied on the counsel today of Steven de Jongh, who accompanied him on the bike while Philippe Mauduit followed in the team car. “Steven has tons of experience in these races and knows the route backwards and forwards. His advice is very important,” he said. “After finishing País Vasco and seeing this stage, I have to say that I’ve accomplished my mission for the first part of the year,” concluded Alberto, who will take a few days of vacation before starting to prepare for the Dauphiné and the Tour de France, the next items on his competition calendar.

Official press release, Alberto Contador press room

PHOTOS


CONTADOR LEADS WORLD RANKINGS

April 14, 2014 - Updates after Basque Country and Paris-Roubaix


Alberto Contador continues at the top of the WorldTour individual rankings, as of April 13, 2014, with 308 points. Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland is next in line with 260 points, followed by Dutch rider and winner of Paris-Roubaix Nicki Terpstra in third with 200 points.

Spain leads the national category with 605 points over Belgium, in second, with 454. France follows with 381 points. Teams rank in the following order: 1 Omega Pharma-Quick Step (543), 2 Katusha (382), 3 AG2R (380)

COMPLETE CURRENT WORLDTOUR RANKINGS


VIDEO: VUELTA AL PAÍS VASCO PODIUM CEMEMONY

April 13, 2014 - Don't miss the videos of Alberto Contador on the winner's podium in Basque Country!


Vuelta al País Vasco

GO TO VIDEO: PODIUM CEREMONY


CONTADOR WINS THE 54TH VUELTA AL PAÍS VASCO

April 12, 2014 - Alberto turns in a sensational ITT performance to clinch a third career title




Stage 6, April 12: Beasain - Beasain, 25.9 km (ITT)

Alberto Contador turned in his best ITT performance of the season today in the sixth and final stage of the Tour of the Basque Country, finishing in 2nd place at seven seconds behind World Champion Tony Martin and clinching the overall title for the third time in his career.

Contador's two biggest threats in the ITT had been Valverde, trailing him by only 12 seconds overall, and Michal Kwiatkowski, the multi-talented young Polish rider. When all was said and done, however, Valverde - after a week of tenacious and thrilling riding - fell to fifth place in the GC and Kwiato lost eight seconds to Alberto, rather than gaining time as the Pinteño had feared.

The top spot in the WorldTour rankings still belongs to Contador after Basque Country, as he looks forward to a vacation before begining his final preparation for the Tour de France.

Alberto said after the stage, “It’s a reason to be proud. When I won the time trial in 2005, it was a dream come true. I never ever imagined that I’d win the whole thing afterward, and three times. I’m very happy. I couldn’t have imagined that the time trial would go so well in País Vasco because I noticed that I was pretty fatigued and I have to be very grateful to my teammates.”

“These results have given me confidence to keep working hard to meet my big goals, the Dauphiné and the Tour, which I´m going to tackle with a lot of motivation," Contador added. "Now I´m going to take the break that I need and afterwards I´ll return to work thinking about the Tour.”

The winner of the general classification continued, “I feel really good, in training and in the tests. And it addition, I´m the leader of the world rankings."

“I´ve felt like I was at home," he said in reference to the Basque region that has always welcomed him enthusiastically. "Chapeau to everybody."

ACCORDING TO...

Philippe Mauduit, a happy Tinkoff-Saxo directeur sportif: “Alberto is simply super strong at the moment. He rode elegantly, regularly and with enormous power in the pedals. We knew that he was the best climber here and today he demonstrated that he’s one of the very best time trialists as well, finishing only 7 seconds behind the world champion. For Alberto this is another boost of confidence which he needed before going home training to prepare for the Tour de France."

RESULTS: Contador in Stage 6, 2nd (0:07 Tony Martin - 38:33). Contador in GC, 1st (21:09:11)

TOP FIVE: 1 Contador, 2 Kwiatkowski (0:49), 3 Peraud (1:04), 4 Spilak (1:07), 5 Valverde (1:07)

COMPLETE CLASSIFICATIONS - PALMARES


CONTADOR MAINTAINS LEADERSHIP IN BASQUE STAGE 5

April 11, 2014 - Valverde attacks Alberto without success, both finish in same time as stage winner Ben Swift. No change to GC top ten.


stage 5, April 11: Eibar - Markina - Xemain, 160.2 km



ACCORDING TO...

Philippe Mauduit, Tinkoff-Saxo DS: “The stage was as hard as we expected but our main goal was that Alberto would cross the finish line with Valverde and the other favorites and we succeeded. But a 12 second lead is not an overwhelmingly safe one and Alberto really has to live up to his very best in order to keep the rivals behind. However, the course suits him well as it includes two climbs of 3.5 and 4 kilometers but we have seen Valverde perform excellently as well on the slopes so it’s going to be a real thrill sitting in the car behind him tomorrow."

RESULTS: Contador in Stage 5, 9th (s.t. Ben Swift - 3:56:56). Contador in GC, 1st (20:30:31)

TOP TEN: 1 Contador, 2 Valverde (0:12), 3 Cunego (0:36), 4 Evans (0:36), 5 Peraud (0:36) 6 Trofimov (0:36), 7 Kwiatkowski (0:41), 8 Landa (0:54), 9 Poels (0:55), 10 S. Sánchez (0:56)

COMPLETE CLASSIFICATIONS AND PHOTOS


FLYING DUTCHMAN STEALS QUEEN STAGE

April 10, 2014 - Wout Poels absconds with victory while favorites brawl


Vuelta al País Vasco

Alberto Contador and the other GC men finish in Poel's wake (Colin Flockton)

Stage 4, April 10: Vitoria-Gasteiz - Arrate (Eibar), 151 km

Alberto Contador maintained the leadership today in Stage 4 of the Vuelta al País Vasco, although he ceded two seconds at the finish line to Valverde, who is in 2nd place at 12 seconds. Contador gained a little time on Kwiatkowski, however, who is now 41 seconds down. “It would’ve been better not to lose time to Alejandro, but in the end, the group was shattered. The climb was very different from other times, I think that it was much slower and there was a really strong headwind – I don’t ever remember another occasion like that. I noticed it on the first pass, and I looked at a right-hand curve that could be used for a launching point, but the truth is that the group was easily able to catch my wheel,” explained Alberto.

The Tinkoff-Saxo leader realized that “some dangerous riders were in difficulty and I told Alejandro to go ahead if he wanted, but he preferred to stay in the group and I tried to maintain a pace, watching my back a little, because I thought that he was going to attack me. In a way, I’m very happy, mainly due to the team, who were amazing in controlling the stage, which was a madhouse from start to finish. Now it’s all about recovering as well as possible.”

Alberto saw Kwiatkowski as “coming unhitched, and as he’s doing some extraordinary time trials, you’re better off getting all the advantage you can on him, likewise with some of the BMC riders who were pretty much on the limit. But it was complicated to gain any time because the headwind was very strong and people were able catch your wheel,” he said.

The advantage over Valverde, in light of the time trial on Saturday, leaves everything up in the air, according to Contador. “Alejandro is very strong in the time trial, especially in a TT like the one on Saturday, although it’s not bad for me, either. It all depends on the forces that each person has, how we recover, and always taking into account that we have behind us riders with tremendous time trial ability. It will be a TT that will command the state of form of each person. For me, the most important thing is to recover well, and we’ll see what happens. Twelve seconds gap to Alejandro is not much, but I’d rather have him behind me that in front of me.”

And for tomorrow’s stage, Alberto said that, in País Vasco, “there aren’t many transitional days. It will be a pretty hectic day, like today, incredibly grueling, and I’m sure that many riders are going to feel it. Maybe I will, too. I don’t know. We’ll have to see about everything, and see what the weather’s like, because it could rain and that always makes the race a little crazier and creates more possibilities for everyone.”

Official press release, Alberto Contador press room

ACCORDING TO...

Philippe Mauduit, Tinkoff-Saxo DS: - Today we had a strong headwind on the last climb. Maybe that’s why Alejandro waited for the descent to attack. So we will definitely see more attacks tomorrow. Alejandro Valverde needs to attack if he wants to go for the overall victory. So the boys are ready to control and help Alberto has much as possible."

RESULTS: Contador in Stage 4, 10th (0:03 Wout Poels - 3:39:29). Contador in GC, 1st (16:33:35)

TOP TEN: 1 Contador, 2 Valverde (0:12), 3 Cunego (0:36), 4 Evans (0:36), 5 Peraud (0:36) 6 Trofimov (0:36), 7 Kwiatkowski (0:41), 8 Landa (0:54), 9 Poels (0:55), 10 S. Sánchez (0:56)

COMPLETE CLASSIFICATIONS AND PHOTOS




CONTADOR SURVIVES STAGE 3, ON TO THE QUEEN STAGE

April 9, 2014 - Bunch sprint finish clears way for showdown at Arrate tomorrow


Vuelta al País Vasco

Riders gab at the Stage 3 start line (Colin Flockton)

Stage 3, April 9: Urdazubi-Urdaz - Vitoria-Gasteiz, 194.5 km

Stage 3 of the Vuelta al País Vasco ended in a bunch sprint won by Michael Matthews of Orica-GreenEdge. Alberto Contador and Alejandro Valverde, the two riders in direct competition for the title, agreed with a nod of the head that neither would make a late play for seconds.

Tomorrow comes the queen stage of this edition, where Contador will fight to defend his leadership on the iconic climb to the Santuario de Arrate.

BICICICLISMO | Contador, before Arrate: “I’m sure that Valverde will test me”

“I’m not that crazy,” said Alberto Contador, wanting to keep track of the fast men in Vitoria-Gasteiz, where he finished 16th today in Stage 3 of the Vuelta al País Vasco. Contador was followed in by his most direct rival, Alejandro Valverde, in 17th. The duel is set for tomorrow at Arrate.

The leader of the Basque race said that his move near the end was “purely not to have surprises and not to lose time. I’m not that crazy. Kwiatkowski was all for the sprint. It is in fact true that the loss of time could be around two or three seconds but you never know what could be important at the end of the race. And you always have to stay on your toes.”

Part of the race could be decided tomorrow on the summit of the Santuario de Arrate. “It’s a very important stage, a stage that I really like, and we’re going to see how we feel. I’m sure that Valverde will test me well and we’ll see how we are,” he explained.

Right now, his eyes are on the GC rather than the stage win: “Everybody likes to win on Arrate. For now, we’re going to think a little about the GC, and the stage will be secondary right now, although it is true that it makes you particularly excited.”

ACCORDING TO...

Philippe Mauduit, Tinkoff-Saxo DS: "This was an obvious opportunity for the sprinters in the peloton and it was only natural that they took control of the pace while we embraced the chance to rest as much as possible. However, we looked after Alberto and made sure he was brought safely across the finish line before tomorrow's long and quite more demanding stage with several bumps along the way. But we're confident and we trust the boys are in control."

RESULTS: Contador in Stage 3, 16th (s.t. Matthews - 5:02:09). Contador in GC, 1st (12:54:03)

TOP FIVE: 1 Contador, 2 Valverde (0:14), 3 Kwiatkowski (0:34), 4 Cunego (0:36), 5 Evans (0:36)

STAGE 3 PHOTO DAYBOOK (PHOTOS BY COLIN FLOCKTON)

COMPLETE CLASSIFICATIONS AND PHOTOS


TOUGH DAY, GOOD OUTCOME IN PAÍS VASCO

April 8, 2014 - Contador deftly fielded Valverde's attacks and finished safely in the pack behind Stage 2 winner, Tony Martin


Vuelta al País Vasco

Contador on the podium after Stage 2 (Colin Flockton)

Stage 2, April 8: Ordizia - Dantxarinea (Rudazubi), 155.8 km

Alberto Contador and team worked to maintain the leader jersey as German time-trial specialist Tony Martin went long in today's Stage 2 of the Vuelta al País Vasco.

Alejandro Valverde put the pressure on Contador - a reminder of yesterday's razzle-dazzle by the two Spaniards - but both riders finsihed with the peloton. World Champion Tony Martin attacked in the final 11 km and, putting in a huge effort, powered to the finish line alone.

BICICICLISMO | Contador, on Valverde’s attack: “I would’ve done the same thing"

Alberto Contador was happy and satisfied at the Stage 2 finish line of the Vuelta al País Vasco. He responded easily to two attacks by his main rival, Alejandro Valverde: “Alejandro attacked, and if I were the one in his situation, I would have done the same thing. We’d already seen the first time around that there were hills where it would be possible to try to drop the others, and I paid close attention.”

Today’s stage wasn’t altogether a transitional stage, according to the Pinteño: “It was really grueling because the men in the escape were very powerful and we couldn’t just let them go. The team was exceptional in their work and kept things perfectly under control without them ever getting more than three minutes. It wasn’t a transitional day, and it was very grueling.”

About his lead in the GC, Tinkoff-Saxo’s rider from Madrid told reporters that “14 seconds is not much considering how much is left, but it’s a lot to have gotten in one day. We have to keep taking it one day at a time.”

ACCORDING TO...

Philippe Mauduit, Tinkoff-Saxo DS: “As the leading team we took responsibility of the rhythm of the pack from the start of the stage and towards the finale, the sprinter teams wanted to bring Martin back but they were too late. From our point of view, I think Alberto responded well to Valverde’s accelerations and he defended the jersey in great style. We had a feeling that Valverde wanted to try something and we would probably have done the same thing. So we respect him for trying. Tomorrow’s stage will be a bit flatter than today but with a challenging finale."

RESULTS: Contador in Stage 2, 16th (0:30 Tony Martin - 3:46:17). Contador in GC, 1st (7:51:54)

TOP FIVE: 1 Contador, 2 Valverde (0:14), 3 Kwiatkowski (0:34), 4 Cunego (0:36), 5 Evans (0:36)

COMPLETE CLASSIFICATIONS AND PHOTOS


CONTADOR EXPLODES PAÍS VASCO ON DAY ONE

April 7, 2014 - Alberto Contador prevails in final-climb duel with Valverde, dons txapela and leader jersey


Vuelta al País Vasco

Zap! Pow! Basque Country Stage 1 win goes to the Pinto Pugilist (Colin Flockton)

Stage 1, April 7: Ordizia - Ordizia, 153.4 km

Alberto Contador finished off a great job by the Tinkoff-Saxo team today with a win in Stage 1 of the Vuelta al País Vasco. Contador’s teammates did the work for him, starting with Bruno Pires on the early climbs and followed by Jesús Hernández in the finale, with important support work by Roman Kreuziger (10th) and Rory Sutherland. Alberto took 14 seconds on Valverde and 34 seconds on Kwiatkowski – 2nd and 3rd on the day respectively – as well as the stage win and the leader’s jersey. “I’m very, very happy to be winning again in this land that I like so much and that has always given such good things to me. A perfect day: good weather, crowds of people on the roads and good legs,” said Alberto.

Contador said about the final climb that the atmosphere “was impressive on the last hill, with all the people. Impressive. The truth is that I always feel at home here. I’ve spent a lot of time on these roads.”

The Tinkoff-Saxo leader said that he couldn’t let go an opportunity on roads of this description. ¨You have to seize every opportunity. This morning I had good legs and I had to seize the day. Now the most important this is to recover, because we’ve only just gotten started and you have to take it one day at a time.”

When Alejandro attacked, Alberto said that he want to give it a try, “but know that Alejandro was very strong. In the end I was able to take a few seconds and that was enough, but Valverde is very strong,” he said, referring to what he sees as a wide-open race. So, his strategy was simple: “I just plugged away in order to endure the pain in my legs, and that’s it,” he concluded.

Official press release, Alberto Contador press room

BICICICLISMO | Contador: "It's not all decided, not by a long shot"

Alberto Contador has let fly a terrific punch in Stage 1 of the Vuelta al País Vasco. The Madrileño, satisfied, says, “I’m happy with how I felt. I had my doubts about how I was going to respond on the final hill because it was tested your rivals´ strengths against your own, and I’m thrilled with the win.”

This race has always been an enjoyable week for Contador. “The Vuelta al País Vasco is an exciting race for me and one that brings back wonderful memories, and it gave me goose bumps with all the people in the last part of the climb. I want to thank them for all of their spirit, it’s amazing how they get into it. Wouldn’t it be great if this enthusiasm were present at all the races!”

Fourteen seconds over Valverde and 36 over the others would appear to be a significant time gap after only one stage: “I knew that this stage was going to be very important so I trained hard in the days before because the first day always seems to be my worst, the one that costs me the most. The result is really good, but Basque Country is totally open. This race is a different story every day, as if it were a series of consecutive Classics, so it’s really nice, but we’ve only just gotten started. It’s not all decided, not by a long shot.”

PLAYBOOK

Tinkoff-Saxo and Movistar, the respective teams of Contador and Valverder, set the scene for the final showdown by controlling, or vying for control of, the stage. Valverde looked ready to add to his streak of 10 wins this season, at one point moving to the front alone in front of Contador and his helpers, and appearing to pull the entire peloton with his own motor.

At just under 8 kilometers to go, Valverde attacked on the nasty 2nd-category climb of the Alto de Gaintza. Contador countered, and the duel that ensued left the other favorites looking like chumps. Contador stayed on the Murcian's wheel until the 7.3-km mark, where he suddenly jumped, gaining some 13 seconds by dint of hard labor on the climb. He maintained the gap on the run-in to the finish. Valverde arrived 14 seconds later, followed 20 seconds more by an eight-man favorites group including Kwiatkowski, Nieve, Evans, and Contador's loyal gregario, Roman Kreuziger.

ACCORDING TO...

Philippe Mauduit: "We took control of the race early on along with Movistar as we obviously had common interests and we kept increasing the pressure throughout the stage. On the final climb, Alberto did an amazing job counter-attacking Valverde and finished to job in perfect style leaving everyone behind. It's a good start of the race but we're also aware that already tomorrow, we'll be under attack. But we have a strong team here and I think we can maintain this lead for a while."

RESULTS: Contador in Stage 1, 1st (4:05:07). Contador in GC, 1st (4:05:07)

TOP FIVE: 1 Contador, 2 Valverde (0:14), 3 Kwiatkowski (0:34), 4 Trofimov (0:36), 5 Cunego (0:36)

COMPLETE CLASSIFICATIONS AND PHOTOS - PALMARES




CONTADOR SECOND OVERALL IN LA VOLTA

March 30, 2014 - Alberto happy with 2nd spot on Volta a Catalunya podium after one last attempt to beat Purito


La Volta 2014, congratulations to Purito on final podium

Alberto Contador smiles and congratulates overall winner Joachim Rodríguez after trying for days to unseat him (Toni Albir/AS)

Stage 7, March 30: Barcelona (Montjuïc) - Barcelona (Montjuïc), 120.7 km

Alberto Contador finished the Volta a Catalunya today in second place overall, in spite of springing one more surprise attack on his rivals, this time on the wet and dangerous asphalt of the Montjuïc circuit.

After seven days of racing, the Tinkoff-Saxo leader said that he makes “a pretty good balance. I’ve felt well generally and specifically during the entire race. Maybe I came up a little short in some stage with a different finale and it’s a shame that I haven’t taken better advantage of the mountain stages, especially the one at Vallter 2000, but I’m very happy, especially with how I recover day after day,” he said in summary.

“In spite of having already done hard work in various competitions, I feel good, rested both physically and psychologically for the next objective, the Tour of the Basque Country,” said Alberto, who acknowledged that he had a “nagging feeling about the day at Vallter 2000, because maybe I could have tried harder. I think that I had the legs for the stage and I could’ve given it more of a shot for the GC, but tactically sometime you play it one way, sometimes another.”

Nor does he think that the results would’ve been very different if there had been a time trial. “You never know, there are times when a time trial benefits you and times when it hurts you. With Joaquim it could’ve benefitted me, but with Van Garderen maybe not. You never know, what you have to do is work with the parcours that you've got, and that’s it.”

At any rate, Alberto kept trying until the end. “I tried at two laps to go and again at one lap to go. Today I think that they did the right thing. They shortened the route due to the existing danger, but also it took away some of the toughness of the climb and that made it harder to pull off a surprise. Anyway, Joaquim paid close attention every second and I can only congratulate him.”

Finally, Contador answered a question about Froome and how he saw him. “The truth is that I haven’t seen him much, because in the end it was other riders who were disputing the race,” explained the Tinkoff-Saxo leader, who, starting April 7, will compete in the Tour of the Basque Country.

Official press release, Alberto Contador press room

PLAYBOOK

The bad weather that had been forecast turned out in spades today, and the condition of the streets deteriortated into the "skating rink" that Alberto referred to yesterday. The race organizers succeeded in averting catastrophe by deciding to shorten the stage by some four kilometers, removing 600 meters of descent in the circuit. The riders were informed of the change before the start.

The pouring rain dulled the bright colors of the peloton and made the riders negotiate the curves gingerly. Lieuwe Westra attacked out of the all-day escape group after the 4-km-to-go mark and soloed to the finish line, arriving two minutes ahead of the favorites' group.

Contador, behind with the other aces, followed Westra's example and attacked his group at two kilometers before the line. The move put the cat among the pigeons for a few moments, but Rodríguez, Van Garderen, Quintana and the others defended well. In the end, Contador´s maneuver had good entertainment value, but couldn't be converted to ready money in terms of seconds gained.

Alberto Contador, however, now leads the WorldTour rankings.

ACCORDING TO...

Philippe Mauduit, Tinkoff-Saxo DS: “It was a nasty finale concluding a very tough week and the race organizers actually shortened the circuit to avoid a few dangerous curves. Alberto tried his best to gain the time needed but Purito (Rodriguez) was just too strong to drop. Naturally, it can be frustrating being this close to the overall win but Alberto showed continuous great form and now, we’re looking forward to the Pays Basque.”

Joachim Rodríguez, overall winner: “This victory is important for me. It was a great race in Spain and also a WorldTour race. Two consecutive weeks we’ve won in the WorldTour. (Teammate Kristoff won Milan-San Remo last Sunday.)

“It’s also been a real race, especially when you saw Alberto Contador trying over the whole route until the end to gain the four seconds that he needed. The true Contador always fights for victory. This race was especially hard with all the wind and rain, but that’s what make’s the competition exciting.”

RESULTS: Contador in Stage 7, 7th (2:07 Westra - 2:36:14). Contador in GC, 2nd (0:04 Rodríguez)

TOP TEN: 1 Rodríguez, 2 Contador (0:04), 3 Van Garderen (0:07), 4 Bardet (0:10), 5 Quintana (0:10), 6 Froome (0:17), 7 Talansky (0:18), 8 Pozzovivo (0:26), 9 Barguil (0:42), 10 Kiserlovski (0:48)

COMPLETE CLASSIFICATIONS - PALMARES




VOLTA A CATALUNYA STAGE 6

March 29, 2014 - Contador: "Tomorrow is a stage that Joaquim knows like the back of his hand"


Alberto Contador finished with the pack along with the other leaders in today’s Stage 6 of the Volta a Catalunya on a very windy day that saw the escape survive until the finish line. Tomorrow’s final stage, ending in a circuit at Monjuïc, is the last chance to alter the GC, although it will be difficult. “Tomorrow is a stage that Joaquim (Rodríguez) knows like the back of his hand,” said the Tinkoff-Saxo leader to illustrate the possibilities of changing the general classification.

“Tomorrow we also have to watch the weather, because if it rains and is windy like today, it will be really complicated. I still remember the stage in the 2009 Tour when we got to Barcelona. It was a skating rink, we even crashed on the straight section,” recalled Contador.

Everyone will have to wait, however, until the last moment to know the outcome of this race. “Clearly this won’t be over until we’ve passed the finish line for the last time, but I’m aware that even though four seconds is a tiny amount, that same time is a great distance,” said Alberto.

“Today has been a very tense day, and I’m very grateful to my whole team because they protected me at every moment. You had to be in front, not just because of splits, but also because there could have been a crash and there was no was to catch back up to the peloton. Now I have to recover as well as possible to tackle tomorrow’s stage,” concluded Contador.

Official press release, Alberto Contador press room

ACCORDING TO...

Philippe Mauduit, Tinkoff-Saxo DS: “Well, today’s stage was rather windy and with a loop around the finish town, we had both headwind, crosswind and tailwind. As the stage progressed, the chance of splitting the field with an attack disappeared and our focus was to protect Alberto and bring him safely across the finish line. Tomorrow’s finale looks pretty hard and surely, there will be an opportunity or two for Alberto to make a move to gain the four seconds he needs."

Chris Froome, defending Tour de France champion who has failed to shine in Catalunya: “Alberto Contador without doubt will try everything possible to get the jersey, but I am happy to finish a good week of competition. I know where I am in my condition now. It’s good to fight for the victory, although I’m not at the level of the other guys, the explosive circuit doesn’t suit me. It’s much better suited to Purito and Contador than to me.”

RESULTS: Contador in Stage 6, 36th (0:55 Stef Clement - 3:58:44). Contador in GC, 2nd (0:04 Rodríguez)

TOP FIVE: 1 Rodríguez, 2 Contador (0:04), 3 Van Garderen (0:07), 4 Bardet (0:10), 5 Quintana (0:10)

COMPLETE CLASSIFICATIONS


VOLTA STAGE 5: CONTADOR SPICES IT UP

March 28, 2014 - Alberto attacks and mixes in the final sprint


La Volta 2014, Stage 5

Alberto Contador at the Stage 5 start line (Colin Flockton)

Stage 5, March 28: Llanars Vall de Camprodon - Valls, 218.2 km

Alberto Contador added a dash of spice to the finale of Volta a Catalunya Stage 5 today with two interesting moves: an attack on the final climb, and sixth place in the sprint finish, where ten bonus seconds were up for grabs for the stage winner. The most important thing, however, for Contador was “how I felt physically. My legs are recovering well every day, so I’m very, very happy,” said the Tinkoff-Saxo leader.

“The important thing was to be there,” said Alberto, referring to the final climb. “The team protected me all the time and, since I knew that it was a small climb, I was there to see what would happen, even though I wasn’t thinking about trying anything. It was almost impossible, because the road was very wide and there was a headwind.”

Later, at the finish line, Contador also took part in the sprint, coming in sixth. “I was well-placed and since I was there, I kept on to see how far I could go, but without taking any more risk than necessary, with care, and thinking especially about avoiding a split in the peloton,” he explained.

In the two remaining stages, Alberto thinks that there are not many opportunities left. “The route leave little room for doing anything. For me, what’s important is recovering well from the efforts of these days, which are really adding up,” he concluded.

Official press release, Alberto Contador press room

ACCORDING TO...

Philippe Mauduit, Tinkoff-Saxo DS: “Today’s stage revealed that Alberto is very confident. With an attack on the final climb before heading down towards the finish line where he participated in the bunch sprints as well clearly underlines that he’s strong and he’s not afraid of going all in. The rest of the boys did a super job protecting him throughout the stage where we didn’t have to pull at any time. The race ends Sunday and we’ll see what happens tomorrow."

RESULTS: Contador in Stage 5, 6th (s.t. Mezgec). Contdor in GC, 2nd (0:04 Rodríguez)

TOP FIVE: 1 Rodríguez, 2 Contador (0:04), 3 Van Garderen (0:07), 4 Bardet (0:10), 5 Quintana (0:10)

COMPLETE CLASSIFICATIONS - PALMARES


FREEZING FINISH IN VOLTA QUEEN STAGE

March 27, 2014 - Contador ends up third on Vallter 2000 summit in a day of "geniune racing"


La Volta 2014, Stage 4

Contador strives for a one-second gain on Purito at the end of an agonizing day (Colin Flockton)

Stage 4, March 27: Alp - Vallter 2000-Setcases, 166.4 km

Alberto Contador crossed the finish line in third place today, on a cold, snowy and cloudy day at the summit of Vallter 2000. The conditions turned the queen stage of the Volta a Catalunya into a truly tough race, although the time gaps between the favorites were not great. “It was a day of genuine cycling,” said the Tinkoff-Saxo leader, “one of those that make you realize how hard the bike is. The truth is that I had good legs and maybe I should’ve tried something more, but hey, I’m happy because my legs are doing well. Sometimes the tactical options are like this, but the race is still very open, there are three days left and important things can happen,” said Contador.

Still cold to the bone, but already on the way to the team bus and shower, Alberto’s mind was on recovering as quickly as possible. “What’s importantk now is not catching cold, recovering as well as possible, and tomorrow’s another day.” About whether he could’ve launched more of an attack, he said that in cases like this “you never know how your rivals are doing, but what’s done is done. There are still three days left,” he said, while acknowledging that, after these two mountain stages, “from here to Barcelona, things are very difficult, but not impossible.”

Contador said, in reference to the possibility that harsh weather had been to blame for the small time gaps achieved in the queen stage, that the route “is what it is. We tried to make the race fast on the penultimate climb and the group was pretty whittled-down on the final climb, even though nobody was able to get enough of a gap, but the route is what it is and you have to adapt to it.”

In conclusion, Alberto highlighted that today was, mainly, “a day to keep building form for the upcoming commitments and to continue along that line. I felt well physically during the stage and I’m staying with that, with the work that I’m going to do each day for the future. The balance is positive.”

Official press release, Alberto Contador press room

ACCORDING TO...

Philippe Mauduit, Tinkoff-Saxo DS: “It was a very tough day for everyone and our boys did a lot of work pulling the peloton for a lot of kilometers. Towards the finish, it was all up the GC favorites and they are obviously all very strong and unfortunately for us the time differences were small crossing the finish line. But it doesn't mean that it's completely hopeless. With 4 seconds separating us from the win, it would be unwise not to think of ways to come by it. But it will be difficult as Katusha and Purito (Rodriguez) are looking mighty strong."

RESULTS: Contador in Stage 4, 3rd (0:03 Van Garderen - 4:49:30). Contdor in GC, 2nd (0:04 Rodríguez)

TOP FIVE: 1 Rodríguez, 2 Contador (0:04), 3 Van Garderen (0:07), 4 Bardet (0:10), 5 Quintana (0:10)

COMPLETE CLASSIFICATIONS - PALMARES


COLD WAR IN LA VOLTA MOUNTAINS

March 26, 2014 - Purito Rodríguez seizes the moment at La Molina as GC men linger to eye the competition


La Volta 2014, Stage 3

Contador looks back over his shoulder for Quintana, Van Garderen, and Froome (Colin Flockton)

Stage 3, March 26: Banyoles - La Molina (Alp), 162.9 km

“It was a complicated day thanks to the cold,” said Alberto Contador today, immediately after crossing the finish line in second place, behind Purito Rodríguez and a few seconds ahead of Quintana and Froome. “We arrived in a small pack and the race was broken up more than we thought, because the climb wasn’t hard.”

The Tinkoff-Saxo leader was satisfied with his performance on such a day, because, he said, “now the important thing is to recover as well as possible for tomorrow, which is harder. Today was a matter of controlling attacks, and the truth is that Joaquín had an amazing spark and I wasn’t able to hold him off in the final sprint.”

The race could depend, therefore, on what happens tomorrow. “I hope to have good legs for Vallter 2000, which is harder, and to see how we do,” said Contador, who acknowledged the high level of participation in this edition which includes the top four finishers in the last Tour de France. “Yes, the level of this year’s Volta is impressive, and what’s also great is that all of us who finished in front want to win,” he concluded.

Official press release, Alberto Contador press room

La Volta 2014, Stage 3

Contador rolls in second after the explosive attack of Rodríguez (Colin Flockton)

PLAYBOOK

After a freezing ride in the snowy mountains, the main favorites for the overall win delayed making a move until the final two kilometers, when several of the aces tried but failed to get the winning jump. Contador experimented by catching the wheel of the point rider from Movistar, but decided not to attack. He dropped back to a defensive position within the pack.

When Rodríguez attacked, Contador was ready. He countered, finishing 2nd at 0:05. Nairo Quintana followed at 0:09. Rodríguez, a Catalan, is the new race leader.

ACCORDING TO...

Philippe Mauduit, Tinkoff-Saxo director: “The boys did a solid job keeping a high pace and protecting Alberto until the final kilometers of the stage where it was all down to the GC riders to fight it out. Rodriguez is a difficult man to beat in an explosive final like this and I’m happy to see Alberto finishing second ahead of both Quintana and Froome.

"Tomorrow’s stage will be harder with longer climbs and I expect Katusha to be in charge of the pace and we’ll wait and see how the race develops."

La Volta 2014, Stage 3

Alberto snacks as the Tinkoff-Saxo team push onward (Colin Flockton)

RESULTS: Contador in Stage 3, 2nd (0:05 Rodríguez - 4:50:55). Contador in GC, 2nd (0:05 Rodríguez - 12:58:00)

TOP FIVE: 1 Rodríguez, 2 Contador (0:05), 3 Quintana (0:09), 4 Van Garderen (0:11), 5 Froome (0:13)

COMPLETE CLASSIFICATIONS - PALMARES




ANOTHER DAY FOR THE SPRINTERS

March 25, 2013 - A rainy day and another sprint win by Mezgec before tomorrow's summit finish


Stage 2, March 25: Mataro - Girona, 168 km

Alberto Contador arrived safely at the finish line in Girona today in Stage 2 of the Volta a Catalunya. During the stage, Tinkoff-Saxo kept to the front of the peloton for safety's sake on the wet and slippery roads.

Slovenian Luka Mezgec of Giant-Shimano made it two in a row with another bunch sprint win.

ACCORDING TO...

Philippe Mauduit, Tinkoff-Saxo director, about tomorrow's first summit finish: “Tinkoff-Saxo will decide on the team’s podium ambitions when the riders hit the last climb to Molina. There is no pressure on Alberto tomorrow. He did a fantastic job in Tirreno, and he doesn’t have to push himself too much at this point in the season. For sure, tomorrow will be interesting, but it’s also very unpredictable because of bad weather. And also shape-wise, nobody knows how the competitors are feeling, so we’ll wait and see until the climb."

"Alberto, Froome, Purito, Quintana are here. It’s the top 4 from the Tour last year. And many others will be in the fight for the win as well. If the favorites feel good and want to challenge each other, it could be an amazing stage."

About today's stage:

"We avoided the crashes and had no problems on today’s stage. If you’re active in the front, of course you use more energy than in the middle of the peloton but you stay safe and if the peloton splits you don’t lose time. When the captain’s name is Alberto Contador and the team is among the favorites to the overall win, you don’t want to fool around. So we take charge and stay safe."

RESULTS: Contador in Stage 2, 28th (0:03 Mezgec - ). Contador in GC, 21st (0:23 Mezgec - 8:06:42)

TOP FIve: 1 Mezgec, 2 R. Ferrari (0:14), 3 Howard (0:14), 4 Alaphilippe (0:16), 5 Ratto (0:16)

COMPLETE CLASSIFICATIONS


CONTADOR: INTERVIEW BEFORE CATALUNYA

March 24, 2014 - Alberto: “Sometimes the training sessions are harder than the races”


MARCA | by Fernando Llamas | Alberto Contador is competing in the first stage of the Volta a Catalunya scarcely six days after finishing Tirreno-Adriatico, where he won two stages, the second after an attack and solo ride that toppled the peloton in Abruzzo. After taking the trident back home, his body informed him, logically: “Alberto, I need rest.”

After five days of easy recovery work, he puts his shoulder to the grindstone again, facing Chris Froome, Purito Rodríguez, Nairo Quintana, Rigoberto Uran, Carlos Betancur, Chris Horner, Samuel Sánchez and many other world-class riders, in terms of both form and desire.

Cappuccino training Do you suffer more as a result of Guardiagrele or a hard workout?
I’m a rider who likes to train. I know that the harder you train, the less you suffer in competition. In that sense, as I’ve said many times, I have to tread lightly because I can even overtrain to the point of exhaustion, with many, many vertical meters... It’s true, the training sessions are often harder than the race.

Photo: Cappuccino training (@albertocontador)

How do you recover from an effort like that? What do you feel on Monday morning?
Whether in front or behind, I think that we all ended up affected that day because the stage was very demanding. You get up the next day and you feel the effort in your legs, but the good thing is that we all got up alike. Maybe at least some riders were able to take it easier than I could on that day. But all the efforts add up. The ability to recover makes a difference that puts some riders at an advantage over others.

But you did a 32-kilometer mountain time trial. Tremendous. The others rode in a bunch, and slower.
It’s true that the exhaustion that day was enormous. It wouldn’t have been the same if I’d waited for the final wall. That’s obvious. It’s true that since finishing Tirreno, the only thing I’ve done is rest and do easy rides, because the body… Uff! I thought that I would’ve finished better. On the next day I didn’t seem very tired, but afterwards my body told me that it was indeed very fatigued and that I basically had to rest until Catalunya.

The slump happens when you finish the race?
When you get home, you put competition on the back burner and tell yourself that the body needs a break. Maybe it’s psychological, too.

So, on days like this, it’s “cappuccino training.” (Contador tweeted a photo from in a café in Lugano along with these two words on the day after wrapping up Tirreno-Adriatico, on Wednesday, March 19.)
Yes. That’s it, I did light training solely to avoid retaining fluids, and not to go as hard as possible on the bicycle. On Sunday, a couple of easy hours in Catalunya and to see the last little hill in the first stage. And, now, competition in order to get back into rhythm and to fight to win knowing that there are very important rivals here.


CONTADOR SAFE AFTER STAGE 1 OF LA VOLTA

March 24, 2014 - Bunch sprint goes to Slovenian from Giant-Shimano


La Volta 2014, Stage 1

Alberto Contador at the start line of La Volta Stage 1 (EFE)

Stage 1, March 24: Calella - Calella, 169.7 km

Alberto Contador finished with the pack in Stage 1 of the 94th edition of the Volta a Catalunya, where he arrived in the same time as sprint winner, Luka Mezgec. All of the GC men survived an active stage which included three categorized climbs and a bunch sprint. Bonifications apply in Catalunya, therefore Contador trails the race leader by 10 seconds.

ACCORDING TO...

Philippe Mauduit, Tinkoff-Saxo DS: “Everything went according to plan. It was obviously a day for the sprinters and our main goal was to protect Alberto and keep him out of trouble and the boys succeeded in doing so. We have a good mix of experienced and young riders and everyone did a perfect job. Tomorrow’s stage is somewhat similar and I don’t any GC riders make any sudden moves."

RESULTS: Contador in Stage 1, 25th (s.t. Mezgec - 4:09:13). Contador in GC, 27th (0:10 Mezgec - 4:09:03)

TOP THREE: 1 Mezgec, 2 Howard (0:04), 3 Alaphilippe (0:06)

COMPLETE CLASSIFICATIONS


NEXT RACE: VOLTA A CATALUNYA (MARCH 23-30)

March 23, 2014 - Starting Monday, Alberto Contador and team face multiple climbs every day, but no time trial


pre-race training for La Volta 2014

Alberto Contador and his teammates train near Calella for the start of the Volta a Catalunya tomorrow (AC press room)

Alberto Contador starts his third stage race of the 2014 season – the Volta a Catalunya – tomorrow, where he arrives in competitive condition. “My state of form in Tirreno was good and I hope to be able to recover well during the upcoming days. I felt pretty fatigued at home. I finished Tirreno-Adriatico more tired than I thought, because the stages were very long and grueling, but, I hope, to feel well, even if it’s a bit of an effort to get started.” This morning he spent a couple of hours training in the surroundings of Calella and was able to enjoy the good weather.

About the parcours of this year’s Volta, he singles out “Stages 3 and 4, especially the latter, with the finish at Walter 2000, but it will be a very open race, since there are bonifications every day, there are no flat stages and there will be a lot of action by the whole peloton.”

The lack of a time trial could work to his advantage or not, says Alberto, taken in the context of his various opponents. “You never know. Sometimes, when you’re up against a pure climber, it benefits you, and when you’re up against a rider who’s very strong against the clock, it’s not good. In the end, you have to take the route, which is what it is, and adapt to it.”

Tinkoff-Saxo has suffered the eleventh-hour loss of Rafal Majka, for whom Jesper Hansen will fill in. In spite of the personnel change, Contador is happy with his teammates here and has full confidence in them. “We have a young but very motivated team and I’m sure that they will respond perfectly,” he concluded.

Official press release, Alberto Contador press room

Tinkoff-Saxo's directeur sportif, Philippe Mauduit, had this to say about the parcours of La Volta and Contador's chances: “As you know it’s never easy to win such race. The race level will be at the highest and the profile of the race pretty hard. In the past few years the first two stages were offering a surprising scenario so we have to be ready and never forget that everything can happen.

"After those first two stages, we enter mountain terrain where I expect a big fight between the GC riders. We will have to do our best to support Alberto and we have the team to do so. Of course after Tirreno everybody expects Alberto doing another spectacular show but we have to bear in mind that he did some thing incredibly outstanding in Tirreno and it's really difficult to produce such performance at that level of competition. So we will take it day by day and the team will do their best to give him the support he deserves."


TIRRENO VICTORY "VERY SPECIAL" TO CONTADOR

March 19, 2014 - Alberto: Trident trophy "will have a special place in my living room”


2014 Tirreno-Adriatico MARCA | This interview by Chema Bermejo was published in Spanish yesterday after the final stage of Tirreno-Adriatico.

How do you rate this win?
For me, it’s a very important victory. I’m very happy with my performance, with the results and with the way that I won it. Everyone dreams of getting a victory like the one I got at Guardiagrele. I’ve already had the opportunity to see it on video and the truth is, it’s a stage that I’ll always remember.

Photo, right: MARCA

It comes with a lovely trophy.
Yes. It’s one of a kind. It will have a very special place in the living room of my house, not only because it’s lovely, but because it’s been a very special victory. Attacking at 30 kilometers from the finish and winning is complicated, normally you don’t have the legs to pull it off. It’s been one of the three or four happiest days of my career.”

You made an impressive showing?
I’ve gotten close to my best level and now it’s time to keep working every time to improve. This victory has given me a lot of motivation for the Volta a Catalunya.

Froome will be there.
Froome and many other champions. It’s very good for cycling that the you can see the best riders in as many races as possible, that they don’t just meet in the Tour.

When will we see you in the Giro d’Italia?
It’s too soon to talk about that. For this season, my calendar is focused on the Tour and the Vuelta. Maybe next year. What I can say is that in Italy I feel at home. It’s been incredible to see how many people shout my name. That makes everything simpler.

After his victory, Alberto Contador is third in the World Tour ranking with 112 points, with Colombian Carlos Alberto Betancur leading and Australian Simon Gerrans second with 114 points.


CONTADOR IS KING OF THE TWO SEAS

March 18, 2014 - Alberto Contador is awarded the Golden Trident as he takes his first stage race win of 2014


King of the Two Seas

Alberto Contador wields the golden trident as overall champion of Tirreno-Adriatico (La Presse)

Stage 7, Tuesday, March 18: San Benedetto del Tronto, 9,1 km (ITT)

BICICICLISMO | Alberto Contador was crowned king of the Two Seas today as he conquered Tirreno-Adriatico for the first time in his career. Contador finished the final stage, an individual time trial, in 29th place. He sealed the general classification with more than two minutes on his closest rivals following victorious displays at Selvarontonda and, even more memorable, Guardiagrele, where he attacked from more than 30 kilometers from the line.

The Tinkoff-Saxo leader had expected a tighter race for the overall prize: “I came to this race eager to win. I wasn’t happy in Arezzo when I lost six seconds to Sagan and Kwiatkowski because I thought that those seconds could be decisive. But in the end I won by a question of minutes, so I’m very happy.”

The solo attack at Guardiagrele: “I wanted to do something different. In the morning, in the bus, I told myself that if I could go it alone, I could make it all the way to the finish line. It wasn’t in my plans to arrive in an escape group, of course, but I was motivated by the morning.”

“The public turned out in droves for Tirreno-Adriatico. In the end, people want to see something different: it’s what we all want in cycling. It’s not easy, and sometimes the opportunity doesn’t arise, or you don’t have the legs. But I was very happy on the next day, when I got my first win in a summit-finish stage, and, at Guardiagrele, I think that I was three or four times happier.”

PLAYBOOK

The final time trial, a 9.1-km flat ride along the Adriatic coast, was won by Adriano Malori. Quintana, in second place overall, out-performed Contador and picked up three seconds. Tinkoff-Saxo's Roman Kreuziger, who had ridden as Contador's super-domestique all week, made a push to unseat Quintana, and therefore also outrode his team leader. Contador, however, had a cushion of more than two minutes in the GC, and after two grueling stage wins on the weekend, there was no reason not to relax and enjoy the final ITT.

The Tirreno-Adriatico trophy absolutely reeks of style, and is hands-down the coolest prize in cycling. A trident for the Roman and Greek gods of the sea - Neptune of the Tyrhennian, Poseidon of the Adriatic - and a devil's pitchfork for a rider on fire, may it represent the torture that Contador will put to his rivals in future races if he continues to ride like this.

ACCORDING TO...

Philippe Mauduit, Tinkoff-Saxo sport director: - The boys rode with great self-belief and confidence throughout the entire race. I think they knew that they were a part of a very strong squad. It was incredible to witness the two victories in the mountains, where the team worked superbly together and Alberto’s solo ride crowned the whole experience."

"We tried to see if we could climb to second place (with Roman Kreuziger) but Nairo was very strong today. But it really doesn’t matter. We are tremendously happy with the results and the same is Roman, who rode the whole race for his captain and still finished on the podium. That’s an amazing achievement."

"It’s just special to see this kind of riding. It makes the race more exciting and it shows that it can be done if the team is supportive and the riders are determined enough. And of course, you have to have the legs to do it."

"Well, Alberto came to Tirreno in great shape. Now he will get some rest and then he’ll race again in Catalunya. But we don’t want to put too much pressure on him, and we also focus on big goals later in the season. But of course, if he’s good and don’t have to strain himself too much, a rider like Alberto is always among the favorites in a mountainous stage race."

RESULTS: Contador in Stage 7, 29th (0:41 Malori - 10:13). Contador in GC, 1st (25:28:45)

TOP FIVE: 1 Contador, 2 Quintana (2:05), 3 Kreuziger (2:14), 4 Peraud (2:39), 5 Arredondo (2:54)

COMPLETE CLASSIFICATIONS AND PHOTOS - PALMARES


CONTADOR SAFE THROUGH SPRINT FINISH

March 17, 2014 - Alberto looks ahead to tomorrow's 9.1-km final ITT


Stage 6 GC podium, Tirreno-Adriatico

Sunny smiles from the race leader's podium (AP/Fabio Ferrari)

Stage 6, Monday, March 17: Bucchianico – Porto Sant’Elpidio, 189 km

Alberto Contador finished today’s stage in Tirreno-Adriatico without incident, after passing unscathed through the dangerous final kilometers before the sprint. “Yes, today was a day for surviving all types of mishaps and crashes, because it was the last opportunity for the sprinters and everyone wanted to go for broke.”

“I always tried to be well-positioned until the final three kilometers, where I relaxed and dropped back a little behind the group, because there’s no fear of a split in the peloton like when you’re really close in the GC,” explained Contador. For the final time trial tomorrow, Alberto said that he’ll try to give it everything. “Yes, I’m a rider who always likes to give the maximum. This year I’m not going to do much time trialing, but there will be a crucial one in the Tour de France, and any test that I do to keep improving is extremely important.”

Contador’s likely overall victory is especially meaningful to him. “It’s really important and I’m especially excited about it, because never in my career have I gotten a win in Tirreno-Adriatico, and that’s something that fills me with pride. It’s also special due to the way it was won… if and when, clearly, everything goes as normal tomorrow,” he said.

This victory is also important because it gives him confidence. “It’s a sign that I’m getting good results from the work that I’m doing and I have to continue along the same line,” he said.

Alberto reaffirmed his words of yesterday, when he said that he will never forget this race. “I thought about making that attack and about being able to finish in front,” he explained, “but when I saw that there was an escape group away by so many minutes, I never once thought about winning the stage. When they told me that they were so close and I was going to catch them, I also kept thinking about the GC, and that only when I got to the wall would I try something, but it was a secondary goal. At the end, I managed to finish it off with a victory. It couldn’t have turned out better even if I had written the script myself.”

Finally, Contador had a few words of appreciation for Steven de Jongh, the Tinkoff-Saxo director in charge of his training. “Yes, I’m with him and I’m really happy with his work. He and I have a very good rapport, and of course the work is paying off,” he concluded.

Official press release, Alberto Contador press room

PLAYBOOK

Stage 7 ended in a sprint won by Mark Cavendish. It was his second win of this edition, which puts him even with Contador at two win apiece. The positions of the top men in the GC did not change.

ACCORDING TO...

Philippe Mauduit, Tinkoff-Saxo director: “It was a perfect scenario for us. We were hoping that the sprinter teams would take the reigns of the pack and as Kittel was dropped, they were all eager to work in the front so we didn’t have to. Now, we’re only one stage away from the overall win and let’s face it, it looks pretty promising with a two minute lead to Quintana. But history shows that many unforeseen things can happen during a time trial and we’re not celebrating until Alberto crossed the finish line tomorrow. Roman is in a good position as well and if he can finish second overall, it would be a major achievement for us. However, he has been working hard the whole week for Alberto and Quintana has time trials before."

RESULTS: Contador in Stage 6, 70th (0:06 Cavendish - 4:16:15). Contador in GC, 1st (25:17:51)

TOP FIVE: 1 Contador, 2 Quintana (2:08), 3 Kreuziger (2:15), 4 Arredondo (2:39), 5 Peraud (2:40)

COMPLETE CLASSIFICATIONS AND PHOTOS


STUNNING VICTORY FOR CONTADOR AT GUARDIAGRELE

March 16, 2014 - Alberto climbs straight up to win Tirreno-Adriatico Stage 5


Climbing to a win at Guardiagrele

Contador climbs to victory on the Guardiagrele wall (MARCA)

Stage 5, Sunday, March 16: Amatrice – Guardiagrele, 192 km

BICICICLISMO | “I’m very, very happy with this victory because I believe that it’s different,” said Alberto Contador after his victory and display of prowess in Stage 5 of Tirreno-Adriatico today. Contador attacked with 32 kilometers to go on the Passo Lanciano and sealed the deal on the Guardiagrele wall. Tinkoff-Saxo’s Spaniard proved the strongest and took over the leader jersey with more than two minutes over his closest rivals.

“We had thought that Kreuziger and I would talk on the final climb about what the best tactics would be. But my dream was to attack on Lanciano and get away alone, even though sometimes that’s difficult and a big risk. Besides, I said, “It’s the best thing, a different victory, a greater motivation,” explained Contador about the stage. “I spoke with Nairo at the foot of the Passo Lanciano. A little after the start of the climb, he had no team left around him. I still had Kreuziger. I thought that the best strategy was to stay on Nairo’s wheel and then attack at the end of the stage, but, instead, I managed to open up a gap. I’m happy because I had the chance to achieve a good advantage and be out in front all the way to the finish line. I’m in good form, and confident, and thus the attack from a distance today,” he said.

In the post-race press conference, Contador verified the nature of his pre-season work: “My preparation has been stress-free this winter. I’ve isolated myself a little, I’ve declined any commitment that would make me miss training. I’ve done a lot of meters of mountains in training camps and I’ve kept my mouth shut in order to keep my weight down, since the older you get, the harder that is. The results have arrived, although the year has only just begun and I still lack a little race rhythm. My weight is good, even though I still have to give my legs the toning that they need for my big objectives further along in the season.”

“I wouldn’t say that it’s my best victory on Italian soil because winning the Giro was incredible for me and, of all the grand tours that I’ve won, that’s the one that has left me with marvelous memories.”

ACCORDING TO...

Philippe Mauduit, Tinkoff-Saxo director: "Of course, our main ambition was to take time on Kwiatkowski but when and how to make the crucial move was not planned as we wanted to see how the stage developed. And fortunately, Alberto found just the right time and place to launch the attack and he worked alone against a chase group of five riders but still managed to gain time. However, the race isn't over yet and we have to remain focused on the job."

Purito Rodríguez, following the race as a spectator: “We can be rivals, we can get along better or worse...but one thing I’m not is blind!! What an exhibition I’m seeing in Tirreno-Adriatico! Chapeau!"

RESULTS: Contador in Stage 5, 1st (4:54:42). Contador in GC, 1st (21:01:30)

TOP FIVE: 1 Contador, 2 Quintana (2:08), 3 Kreuziger (2:15), 4 Arredondo (2:39), 5 Peraud (2:40)

COMPLETE CLASSIFICATIONS AND PHOTOS




CONTADOR TRIUMPHS AT CITTAREALE!

March 15, 2014 - Alberto attacks and defeats Quintana in Tirreno queen stage after impressive effort of sacrifice by Kreuziger


Tirreno-Adriatico queen stage

Alberto Contador triumphs at Cittareale (as.com)

Stage 4, Saturday, March 15: Indicatore – Cittareale (Selva Rotonda), 244 km

BICICICLISMO | The best Alberto Contador is back. The Spanish cyclists from Team Tinkoff-Saxo has conquered the mountaintop at Selvarotonda, the finish of Stage 4 of Tirreno-Adriatico, besting Nairo Quintana in the final meters. The Madrileño is now in second place in the GC, 16 seconds behind race leader Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), who suffered in the final kilometers.

This is Contador's first victory in the Race of the Two Seas, a success that he calls “really important. All victories are important, but even more so in a race like Tirreno with a summit finish.” About his return to the top, he was clear: “I’ve just kept working like I always have. Sometimes I win, sometimes I don’t, but I wouldn’t call it a renaissance. I’ve just kept doing my job.”

Kwiatkowski ceded ten seconds at the finish line and Contador has a new opportunity to distance the Pole on Sunday at the Guardiagrele wall, before the final time trial on Tuesday. “The stage was really grueling. We expended a lot of energy. I hope that I can recover well, and tomorrow I’m going to try to gain more time on Kwiatkowski. He’s strong, and it won’t be easy,” he said.

Kreuziger blazed a trail for him with an early attack on the climb. “There wasn’t a plan before the stage. When the final climb began, Roman said that he felt strong and wanted to attack. I thought that it could be a good opportunity if nobody chased him, he could win the stage and climb up in the general. If they worked to catch up with him, I could save energy in the group and then attack at the finish. Roman did a great job and so did the rest of my teammates, as they have done since the first day. I’m very happy with each and every one of them,” he emphasized.

Contador had his mind on the bonus seconds at the finish line. “The bonifications at the end of the stage were important. Maybe I could’ve attacked at one kilometer to go, but maybe they would’ve caught me and somebody else would’ve won, leaving me with the same time as everybody else. It was better to get the bonifications. Looking ahead to the end of the stage, I thought that the smartest option was to wait for the final sprint. Tirreno-Adriatico is always reduced to a question of mere seconds,” he said. “The duel wasn’t just with Quintana. The stage win was disputed with Quintana in a few meters of the finale, but there were other very strong riders here,” he added.

In spite of everything, he’s left with a bittersweet feeling after the rather fast-paced ascent to Selvarotonda. “It’s a shame that it wasn’t extremely difficult. A headwind was really blowing and it wasn’t possible to make big time differences,” he acknowledged.

Post-stage press conference comments via Biciciclismo

PLAYBOOK

On the final climb, Roman Kreuziger struck out alone in a powerful bid for a solo victory, or so it seemed. He sooned looked over his shoulder, however, and past his immediate pursuer, a possible tip-off that he was watching for his team leader, Contador.

Kreuziger bulldozed ahead. In the final meters before the red kite, he began to zigzag across the road, not due to exhausation, but rather as a stalling technic to allow Contador to catch his wheel.

Contador was coming with Quintana, Scarponi, Kiserlovski and Porte, while race leader Kwiatkowski suffered a little farther behind. The group joined Kreuziger, pulling with it shreds of the pursuing favorites' group. Porte pulled in front as Contador slipped in behind super-domestique Kreuziger.

Porte's subsequent weak attack achieved nothing but to weed out the stragglers and reduce the group to four men: himself, Contador, Quintana, and Scarponi. Contador then attacked, Quintana followed, and that's all she wrote.

ACCORDING TO...

Philippe Mauduit, Tinkoff-Saxo DS: "I think the boys did a fantastic effort today. Everything went according to plan, which the guys executed to perfection. With Roman attacking on the final climb, we had Alberto in the chase group sitting and waiting for his moment and when the group caught up with Roman, Alberto left no doubt that he’s in excellent form by outsprinting the other favorites on the final hundred meters of the stage. Now, he’s second overall and even though Kwiatkowski was left behind today doesn’t mean that we can do the same thing again. But of course, we’ll chase the overall win with all we have."

RESULTS: Contador in Stage 4, 1st (6:39:56). Contador in GC, 2nd (0:16 Kwiatkowski - 16:06:42)

TOP THREE: 1 Kwiatkowski, 2 Contador (0:16), 3 Quintana (0:23)

VIDEO - PHOTOS - COMPLETE CLASSIFICATIONS AND PHOTOS




SPRINT SUPRPISE PUTS KWIATKOWSKI IN FRONT

March 14, 2014 - Contador and other favorites lose seconds to the Polish GC man from OPQS


2014 Tirreno-Adriatico Stage 3, Friday, March 14: Cascina – Arezzo, 210 km.

Today's third stage of Tirreno-Adriatico ended in a sprint. Contador finished near the front, as usual in such a situation. Peter Sagan won the stage, but the hurt came when Michal Kwiatkowski managed to take Sagan's wheel and keep it to cross the line second and bag an advantage, plus the bonus seconds. Team OPQS now has the Pole in the leader jersey and Uran in second, while Contador trails at 0:36. Tomorrow: the mountains.

That's racing. Contador says that he'll fight for the stage win in tomorrow's uphill finish at Cittareale-Sevlarotonda.

ACCORDING TO...

Philippe Mauduit, team director, about Contador and tomorrow's fight: - "He is good. He is looking really sharp and focused. So it’s pretty simple – tomorrow we will go for the stage win. We have a very strong team with riders like Roche and Kreuziger ready to put the peloton under severe pressure, and then Alberto has to finish it on the final part of the climb."

Michal Kwiatkowski, new race leader: “You can see that Contador has a lot of support from his teammates. They were in front during the whole day. He was very strong in the Volta ao Algarve, so I think that he’s the biggest rival for the victory in Tirreno-Adriatico. He’s in very good form and feels good about it. Having said that, Sky was always near the front, so we’ll see.”

RESULTS: Contador in Stage 3, 14th (0:06 Sagan - 5:10:17). Contador in GC, 11th (0:36 Kwiatkowski - 9:26:36)

TOP THREE: 1 Kwiatkowski, 2 Uran (0:10), 3 Clarke (0:13)

COMPLETE CLASSIFICATIONS


CONTADOR HOME SAFE IN BUNCH SPRINT

March 13, 2014 - Pelucchi of Swiss team IAM wins Stage 2 of Tirreno-Adriatico


2014 Tirreno-Adriatico Stage 2, Thursday, March 13: San Vincenzo – Cascina, 166 km

Alberto Contador finished in the bunch sprint in today's Stage 2 of Tirreno-Adriatico. He was well protected by his teammates during the entire stage, which passed without incident for the Tinkoff-Saxo team. Near the end of the stage, Contador went to the front with Daniele Bennati, maybe to test whether the Italian's legs were sprint-ready.

ACCORDING TO...

Philippe Mauduit: “The boys did what I expected them to supporting Alberto and one way to do that is go to the front of the pack in order not get mixed up in potential pile-ups in a hectic finale. Everyone’s safe and ready for tomorrow’s stage where we have to be very careful in the finale. The stage is concluded on a short but very steep uphill finish and if you’re unaware you can lose seconds because of small gaps in the field. I expect a breakaway to be caught at the foot of the climb and the GC riders might use the opportunity to test the legs."

RESULTS: Contador in Stage 2, 30th (s.t. Pelucchi). Contador in GC, 23rd (0:24 Cavendish)

TOP THREE: 1 Cavendish, 2 Kwiatkowski (s.t.), 3 Uran (s.t.)

COMPLETE CLASSIFICATIONS


TINKOFF-SAXO 4TH IN OPENING TTT

March 12, 2014 - Contador: "We gave it everything we had"


Tinkoff-Saxo rides hard in Stage 1

Alberto and team turned in a solid performance in the opening TTT (Tirreno-Adriatico)

Stage 1, March 12: Donoratico – San Vincenzo, 18.5 km (TTT)

Alberto Contador gave a positive review of Tinkoff-Saxo’s results today in the team time trial, especially of his teammates’ performance. “I’m happy with the team. We gave it everything we had,” he said.

He also acknowledged that he had not expected to cede so much time to the stage winners. “It’s true that we gave up a little more time than we would’ve liked, in particular to Omega, who have a rider in incredible form – Kwiatkowski – and who’ve also got Rigoberto Uran for the general classification. But it’s also true that we’ve been able to score some time differences between us and other teams and therefore, except for Omega, the existing differences are pretty good.”

Alberto commented that everything will be decided after this inaugural stage. “Tirreno starts now and we have to take it one day at a time. It’s true that 24 seconds is quite a deficit, but we’ll see what we can achieve.” For him, the best thing about today was how he saw himself on the bike. “I’m happy with how I feel physically, it’s quite good in spite of this being a completely flat time trial, and that’s the most important thing,” he said. “Maybe there were teams with more powerful riders than ours, and in certain sections of the time trial they were able to get a margin, but the truth as I saw it is that the team did very well and is strong, and I think that we’ll do a great Tirreno-Adriatico,” concluded the leader of Tinkoff-Saxo.

Official press release, Alberto Contador press room

PLAYBOOK

Tinkoff-Saxo rode well and showed that they are ready for a grueling week. They crossed the finish line with six men together; Tosatto and Morkov finished later. OPQS (with World Champion Tony Martin), Orica Greenedge and Movistar took the top three places, leaving Contador several seconds in arrears to three GC men: Nairo Quintana, Kwiatkowski and Uran. Trek Factory Racing, with Cancellara, and Team Sky, with Wiggins, failed to shine.

ACCORDING TO...

Philippe Mauduit: “Obviously, we expected a good result from the boys and I think this is a good result even though we didn’t take the win. Omega-Pharma and Orica are specialists in this discipline and we finished ahead of our main opponent here, Richie Porte. I think we’ve created a solid position before entering the mountains. However, we now have to focus on tomorrow’s sprinter stage and make sure Alberto is protected all the way."

RESULTS: Contador in Stage 1, 27th (0:24 Cavendish -20:13). Contador in GC, 4th (0:24 Cavendish -20:13)

TOP THREE: 1 Cavendish, 2 Kwiatkowski (s.t.), 3 Uran (s.t.)

COMPLETE CLASSIFICATIONS


NEXT UP: TIRRENO-ADRIATICO

March 11, 2014 - Alberto Contador at the opening press conference


Alberto Contador, along with other star riders, appeared today at the kickoff press conference of this year’s edition of Tirreno-Adriatico, which begins tomorrow with a team time trial. The leader of the Tinkoff-Saxo team said that he’s arriving “at a good moment. I’ve been working calmly in a different way this winter, and even though I’m coming here with only a few days of competition, I hope to keep breaking myself in, and to have a good performance.”

Tirreno-Adriatico will be the second race of the season for Contador, following on last month’s Volta ao Algarve, hence he thinks that he should “go day by day and see what happens in the end. We’re starting with a team time trial where there will be extremely strong teams, and Tirreno-Adriatico is characterized by definition by very small differences in the GC. The bonifications play an important role, and we’ll have to try to take it one day at a time to finish as far to the front as possible. We’ll see where we stand at the end of the week.”

Among his goals for the start of the season, Alberto positions Tirreno-Adriatico as “a great objective. It’s a really great race. I got to know it last year and I really like it. It will be the first of three races that I’m going to do now, together with Catalunya and País Vasco, and I want to be at a high level. For me, all the races are important, and one with the prestige of Tirreno-Adriatico, too.”

Finally, Alberto was very satisfied with the Tinkoff-Saxo team that will take the start tomorrow. “I’m really happy. It’s a very strong team and I think that we have people to do well in every type of terrain, also to do a good team time trial. I have full confidence in my teammates,” he concluded.

Official press release, Alberto Contador press room

Riding for Tinkoff-Saxo in Tirreno-Adriatico: Alberto Contador, Daniele Bennati, Manuele Boaro, Matteo Tosatto, Nicolas Roche, Michael Mørkøv, Roman Kreuziger, Sergio Paulinho

BETTINI PHOTOS


2014 VOLTA AO ALGARVE

Contador wins the queen stage and finishes on the final podium


Alberto Contador showed promising form in the 2014 Volta ao Algarve, where he took another career win on the Alto do Malhão and turned in a solid time trial.

Read more at RACE WATCH


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


All text © 2007-2008 Rebecca Bell, contadorfans@hotmail.com.

DISCLAIMER : albertocontadornotebook.info is compiled by Rebecca Bell. The aim is to celebrate the achievements of Alberto Contador. Responsibility for all content lies with Rebecca Bell. Information and photographs is gathered and reproduced in good faith from published sources (online and print). The editors’ decision is final. We always seek to credit photographs where possible. On occasion, the original source of photography may not be available. If we have used your photos, please contact and we’ll be pleased to credit your work.

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