Tour de France

Enjoyment on Contador's mind as Tour bid over

2017-07-14 22:21
Alberto Contador (AP)

Foix - Two-time former winner Alberto Contador said he was just trying to enjoy the Tour de France now after sparking the hostilities in Friday's thrilling 13th stage.

Contador attacked 70km from the finish of the short mountainous 101km Pyrenean stage.

Already more than seven minutes back in the overall standings after crashing four times this Tour, he was given some leeway by the favourites including reigning champion Chris Froome.

Contador's attack was tracked by his compatriot Mikel Landa before they were joined by eventual stage winner Warren Barguil and Nairo Quintana just before cresting the final climb 27km from the finish.

Although he gained almost two minutes on race leader Fabio Aru, the Spanish veteran admitted his overall chances are gone, but said he can still have his say in this year's race.

"To tell you the truth, it has been a very difficult Tour for me until now. I am in good shape but if things go wrong, they go wrong," said the Trek team leader, now 10th at 5:22.

"Nothing much to do about that. I wanted to try something yesterday but with the crash of the day before I just had to survive.

"With the short stage of today I felt I wanted to try something. I am out of GC and I want to enjoy what's left of this Tour, and I will do whatever I can to have the people enjoy it as well."

Another rider whose race has been compromised by crashes is Ireland's Dan Martin.

He rode a courageous ninth stage last Sunday despite being wiped out spectacularly by the crash that ended Australian Richie Porte's race.

But Martin has fought on gamely since then to avoid losing any more time - his crash cost him 1:15 - even gaining back a few seconds at the end.

"Hope to continue to improve now and then can dream big next week. Unreal to still be in the fight after such a crash," he wrote on Twitter.

Martin had even taken on pace-setting duties on the final climb for the group containing Aru and Froome.

He dropped a place to sixth as Landa overtook him but he gained nine seconds on Aru to sit just 1:32 back.

"Feeling 10 times better today but still can't ride out the saddle hence the hard tempo tactic to avoid accelerations. Seemed to work," he added about his pace-setting.

Another to gain a few seconds alongside Martin was Briton Simon Yates, the top young rider in the race.

"I prefer days like this, where you can get stuck in and give it full gas," he said.

"Yesterday was more about survival because it was such a long day. You're worried about all sorts like drinking, eating and saving your legs.

"When a day is so long, it creates negative racing. When it's a shorter day like today it creates positive racing."

Read more on:    tdf 2017  |  alberto contador  |  cycling
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