Thursday September 6, 2012
Contador scents fairytale win in comeback
COMILLAS (Spain): Spain’s two-time Tour de France champion Alberto Contador stands tantalisingly close to a stunning win in the Tour of Spain, his first major race since returning from a two year doping ban.
But while the 29-year-old – who still protests his innocence over the minute trace of clenbuterol found in his urine on the 2010 Tour de France – is just 28 seconds behind overall leader Joaquim “Purito” Rodriguez, he admits it will be tough for him to claw the deficit back.
“I am in second place now and would like to exchange it for first place, but I am aware of how difficult it will be to win,” Contador told a news conference in the northern city of Comillas during the second rest day of the race.
“It is complicated because there is not much more ground to cover, but every day there will be possibilities in the Tour to catch up.
“I am going to give all I have no matter what result I have, I have my own racing style and it does not even occur to me to do anything but to try to win.”
Rodriguez – who suffered heartbreak in this year’s Tour of Italy ending up second overall having entered the final stage in the lead – extended his overall lead over Contador by six seconds during Monday’s 16th stage and is now within striking distance of securing his first ever major Tour win.
The 33-year-old fended off a series of attacks from Contador during the steep final climb of the 183.5km (114-mile) mountain ride from Gijon to Cuitu Negru in northern Spain to finish third. Contador finished fourth. — AFP