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

Voices
voices
News
general electionThis quiz matches undecided voters with the best party for them
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen starred in the big screen adaptation of Austen's novel in 2005
tvStar says studios are forcing actors to get buff for period roles
News
Prince William and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge show their newly-born daughter, their second child, to the media outside the Lindo Wing at St Mary's Hospital in central London, on 2 May 2015.
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Recruitment Consultant / Account Manager - Surrey / SW London

£40000 per annum + realistic targets: Ashdown Group: A thriving recruitment co...

Ashdown Group: Part-time Payroll Officer - Yorkshire - Professional Services

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful professional services firm is lo...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before