GAP, France (VN) — Things are not going as well as Tinkoff-Saxo had hoped for, but Alberto Contador promises to go down swinging.
“I am a non-conformist, and we’ll see what the final result will be,” Contador said in a press conference Tuesday. “My objective here was nothing short of victory, and I am not going to be content with just the podium.”
Those are fighting words from Contador, who came into the Tour hot off a win in the Giro d’Italia, aiming to become the first rider since Marco Pantani in 1998 to win the two grand tours in one season.
Despite a solid start, Contador struggled across the Pyrénées, losing time to yellow jersey Chris Froome (Sky), rolling into the Alps fifth overall at 4:23 back.
Contador remains defiant that he can challenge Froome for the top spot in Paris.
“I was worse in 2013. Now I am getting better. Every day I have better sensations, and I am feeling motivated psychologically,” Contador said. “I believe the peloton is growing weary, and one must be ready to take advantage of any opening.”
Sky said its team will be keeping a close eye on Contador.
“[Contador] is the most successful grand tour rider that is active right now in the peloton, in terms of wins,” said Sky principal Dave Brailsford. “We won’t let our guard down.”
Contador will need to be at his very best to try to beat Froome and get past the Movistar duo of Nairo Quintana and Alejandro Valverde, as well as Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing), who are all ahead of him on GC.
Having already won all three grand tours, Contador said he’s only interested in the overall victory, and not a podium finish.
“My aim at this Tour is only the yellow jersey. I came here to win — I wouldn’t be happy with a podium place.”