|6. Now and Later
This week, Marca.es shared some of Alberto’s thoughts
about his role in the 2007 Tour de France. We also got a glimpse of
what Alberto sees in the crystal ball.
Although he’s not considered one of the likely candidates for
the final victory on the Champs-Élysées, Alberto Contador
is one of the riders who could become the revelation of the race. At
24 years old he has arrived at the Tour as one of the major protagonists
of the early season, having gained victories at Paris-Nice and Castilla
Contador’s job at this year’s Tour is to work for Discovery
team leader, Levi Leipheimer. He’s happy with that role in the team,
but has options if chances arise. “Although I’ll try to help him however
I can, I will enjoy a certain freedom. This year is for growth and to
make the leap to a higher level. For that and, if I can, to fight for
the white Young Rider jersey.”
The Madrileño is eager to get to the mountains, but
his attitude is prudent. “My job is not to get victories, although
I want to do a good Tour.” How does Contador define a good Tour? “To
be in the second tier, behind Vinokourov, Klöden, and Valverde.
They are, to me, the great favorites, next to Sastre. At 24, it wouldn’t
be a bad outcome to be right behind them.”
He believes he has continued to improve since finishing 6th
at the Dauphiné Libéré last month. Training in
the Sierra de Gredos near his home in Madrid has honed his form, refining
his skill both in climbing and descending.
Contador, who finished 31st in his first Tour (2005) at only
22 years old, remarked “I have very high spirits. I have great motivation.
In addition, I’m a more mature racer and I’m surrounded by a great team.
Noval’s skill at protecting me during these first days has been astonishing.”
“My time will come,” he exclaims. “In 2009, within two years,
I’ll be fighting for the overall win.”
2005 Dauphiné Libéré
Just one month before his first Tour de France
Copyright © 2006 Pete
|Race Report, Stage 6
Semur-en-Auxois - Bourg-en-Bresse, 199.5km
“Tomorrow the truth will out”
The stage ended today with Contador happy again to have missed
out on crashes. “I’ve avoided falling and finished well, like the rest
of the team, so we’re satisfied. Besides, Benjamin Noval could start,
and was able to cross the finish line. I hope he gets well and can stay
in the race.”
The race reaches the mountains tomorrow, where Contador shines.
“Tomorrow the race starts in earnest”, said Alberto. “We have to see
how the stage looks and how Leipheimer feels, because the team will work
for him. We’ll see how the favorites do, because in the mountains, nobody
can hide. The truth will out.”
He admitted that while he hadn’t spent much time around Vinokourov
or Klöden during the stage, it was obvious they were suffering.
“Maybe I’m wrong, but they didn’t look well,” he said, referring to
the injuries they sustained yesterday.
About the Alps, Contador said he believes that he has arrived
at a good point in his form. “It’s possible to lose a big part of the
Tour roster here, especially the ones that aren’t well when they reach
this point. I think the Alps will be less decisive than in other years,
but maybe now everything has changed because of the crashes that have plagued
some riders. To predict how the favorites will do, you can shake a tree
and see what falls out.”