Alberto Contador (Astana) is convinced now more than ever that the Tour de France will be decided in the Pyrénées.
Following last week’s Critérium du Dauphiné, the two-time Tour champ previewed the three major climbing stages that will be featured in the Alps and he says they shouldn’t prove decisive in the overall battle.
“These stages will be principally of attrition,” Contador told the Spanish daily AS. “We’ll see who’s in form and those who are not will lose time. But I don’t believe the GC will be decided after these days.”
Contador previewed the stages during two days of training with five Astana teammates who are already on the pre-selection for the Tour squad. Joining him were David de la Fuente, Dani Navarro, Benjamin Noval, Jesús Hernández and Paolo Tiralongo.
In two days, they previewed three stages, including the seventh stage to Rousses, which they inspected by car.
“This stage was disappointing,” Contador said. “There are only 3km that are difficult and they’re 14km from the finish line.”
They rode the route to the Morzine-Avoriaz summit in stage 8 as well as stage 9 to Saint-Jean-de-Marienne, which tackles the HC Col du Madeleine.
“The stage to Morzine-Avoriaz is the hardest, but except for the people that really struggle, the differences shouldn’t be that big. I believe there will be a group of three or four that arrive to the line,” he said. “The one I like most is the stage with the Madeleine. There is 4,500 meters of vertical climbing. The distance from the top of the climb to the finish line 32km, of which 23km are downhill, so there could be people trying to attack from far away.”
Contador previewed the Pyrénées stages before the Dauphiné and is convinced that’s where the Tour winner will likely be crowned.
“The Pyrénées will be much harder and more decisive,” he said. “That’s where the race will be decided.”