10 June 2017 - 16:06
Dauphiné: Contador 9th in penultimate stage
"I am not looking at my position in the GC, and also the stage, I only look at my performance, my feeling, and this is what is more important,"
The second successive day in the mountains at the Critérium du Dauphiné saw a slightly stronger Alberto Contador, a few cracks in other GC contenders' armor, and race leader Richie Porte (BMC) continuing to show no hint of weakness.
While the breakaway fought out the win in the 167.5-kilometer penultimate stage seven -Peter Kennaugh (Sky) claimed the honor - the GC fight waited until the final kilometers of the last climb, a different, shorter route up Alpe d'Huez.
When Porte attacked, Contador was quick to react, holding his wheel into the final kilometer, while most of the leading group of contenders could not answer the Australian's fierce acceleration. Contador crossed the line in 9th place, eight seconds behind Porte.
"In the finale, in the last kilometers Richie went very strong, and I would have preferred it was a little more easy," explained Contador. "It was nice that some riders who finished in front of me yesterday, finished behind me today.
"I recovered very well. Yesterday when Richie and Froome went to the front I could have followed these two guys for a little bit more time, but with the race profile, I could not afford a big explosion before the finish.
"Today I knew it finished at the top and so I tried to follow Richie for as long as I could. I was at the limit on his wheel, and I preferred to go a little bit easier 800 meters to the end. But I am happy the rest of the rivals are behind me. It's not important if it's 5 seconds, 8 seconds, 10 seconds. What's important is that I go day by day better with a good work in the legs."