Contador confirms Catalunya is final race before Giro, pledges to ‘test’ himself and try for GC

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Admitting that the large time deficit he and the other race favourites incurred on the opening stage of the Volta a Catalunya on Monday, Alberto Contador has nevertheless said that he will do his utmost to try to salvage the situation.

Speaking after Tuesday’s second stage, the Spaniard said that he was worried by the two and a half minute-plus buffer that Maciej Paterski (CCC Sprandi Polkowice), Pierre Rolland (Europcar) and Bart De Clercq (Lotto-Soudal) opened up on day one.

“With the advantage that they have in the GC it will probably be very difficult and hard to fight for the overall win from behind. In any case, Catalunya is my last race before the Giro so I want to test myself before leaving the race,” he said.

“We will try to use any possibility to take time in the GC, maybe tomorrow or maybe to La Molina on stage four. It is not the best climb but for sure we will try something.”

He said that he had thought about trying to get some time back on stage two but that this ultimately wasn’t possible.

“In the last kilometers on the stage today we had a small climb of about 1.5 kilometres. I went in the front to look for a possibility but today wasn’t the terrain for doing anything in the final.”

Contador added that he is still affected by a cold he picked up in Tirreno-Adriatico and that the damp conditions in the Volta a Catalunya are not helping.

“The bad weather that we had today wasn’t ideal to recover from my cold. Anyway, cycling is like this and we must just acclimatize to the conditions. It was a hard and cold stage and I would like to thank my teammates, who supported me a lot during the stage and kept me well placed.”

In addition to dealing with the weather and the unexpected time deficit, the Tinkoff-Saxo team is also affected by the swirl of confusion around the squad.

On Monday it was reported that the team’s general manager had been sidelined by its owner Oleg Tinkov. The team confirmed this today in a statement, but didn’t specify the precise reasons nor if it was possible for Riis to return.

Contador has said in the past that Riis’ presence and tactical advice are important to him.

The Spaniard is sitting 19th overall heading towards stage three. He is two minutes 50 seconds behind stage one winner Paterski.

Alejandor Valverde (Movistar) was best at the end of stage two, moving up to fourth overall.

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