Contador must attack in the Alps to win back time lost by crashes and injury

His knee is swollen and he is four minutes back in the race for the yellow jersey, but Alberto Contador is far from ready to give up. The three-time Tour de France winner is also riding with the cloud of doping allegations hanging over his head but he insists he is focused on the task in hand and will revert to his usual attacking style in the Alps as the race reaches its decisive moments.

The 28-year-old Spaniard lost crucial time after being held up behind a pile-up on the first stage two weeks ago, and also hit the deck in the first week, sustaining a knee problem that forced him to sit and wait in the Pyrenees. That means Contador – who won May's Giro d'Italia in awesome fashion – lies seventh in the overall standings, four minutes behind the leader, Thomas Voeckler of France, and about two minutes adrift of his main rivals.

"Because of the crash, I had to change my pedalling. My [right] knee was hurting so I had to compensate with the other knee and it changed my way of pedalling," Contador said yesterday as the peloton enjoyed their second rest day in the three-week race. "But I feel better, I'm confident for the Alps."

Contador will have two gruelling stages in the Alps on Thursday and Friday to make up for lost time, as well as a 42.5km individual time trial on Saturday.

"The Galibier stage [from Pinerolo to Serre Chevalier on Thursday] is the hardest with the last 10km of the ascent to the Col d'Agnel," the Saxo Bank rider explained. "I'm not as good or as fresh as at the Giro but I think I will be better in the Alps than in the Pyrenees. If I have good legs, it is certain that I will attack because it is my style."

In the first two mountain stages in the Pyrenees, Contador drew benefits from a waiting game between the overall contenders as Cadel Evan srefused to attack while the Schleck brothers' attempts were not sharp enough to unsettle the other favourites.

But Contador cannot wait for the final time trial to make the difference, especially against the Australian Evans, who shines in the solo effort against the clock.

"I can't win the Tour with the time trial if the standings after the Alpe d'Huez are the same as today," Contador stressed. "In the Alps, the ascents are longer and go higher above ground level. Some who were good in the Pyrenees will be disappointed in the Alps."

Standings

General classification after stage 15:

1 Thomas Voeckler (Fr) Team Europcar 65hr 24min 34sec
2 Frank Schleck (Lux) Leopard Trek at 1min 49sec
3 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team at 2.06
4 Andy Schleck (Lux) Leopard Trek at 2.15
5 Ivan Basso (It) Liquigas-Cannondale at 3.16
6 Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Sp) Euskaltel-Euskadi at 3.44
7 Alberto Contador Velasco (Sp) Saxo Bank Sungard at 4.00
8 Damiano Cunego (It) Lampre - ISD at 4.01
9 Thomas Danielson (US) Team Garmin-Cervelo at 5.46
10 Kevin De Weert (Bel) Quickstep Cycling Team at 6.18

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
ESPN footage showed a split-screen Murray’s partner Kim Sears and Berdych’s partner Ester Satorova 'sporting' their jewellery
tennis
Arts and Entertainment
Cold case: Aaron McCusker and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvReview: Sky Atlantic's ambitious new series Fortitude has begun with a feature-length special
Voices
Three people wearing masks depicting Ed Miliband, David Cameron and Nick Clegg
voicesPolitics is in the gutter – but there is an alternative, says Nigel Farage
Voices
The veterans Mark Hayward, Hugh Thompson and Sean Staines (back) with Grayson Perry (front left) and Evgeny Lebedev
charity appealMaverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
News
i100
News
people
Sport
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho
footballThe more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Life and Style
Vote green: Benoit Berenger at The Duke of Cambridge in London's Islington
food + drinkBanishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turn over a new leaf
News
Joel Grey (left) poses next to a poster featuring his character in the film
peopleActor Joel Grey comes out at 82
News
i100
News
business
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Marketing & Sales Manager

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A reputable organisation within the leisure i...

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Recruitment Genius: Doctors - Dubai - High "Tax Free" Earnings

£96000 - £200000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Looking for a better earning p...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer

£32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly expanding company in ...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee