Alberto Contador is already a pretty good time trialist, but his new boss at Saxo Bank-Sungard said changes in his TT position could take the Tour de France winner up another notch.
Speaking to the Danish newspaper Sporten, Bjarne Riis said Contador has shaved nearly two seconds per kilometer during preliminary tests.
“He had a nice position before and he was not keen to change it. I said, ‘Alberto, I have an idea on how I think we can do better, we can just go back if it doesn’t work,’” Riis told the Danish paper. “So I moved him around a bit and he improved 1.75 seconds per kilometer. Such things helped to open him.”
The report did not get into details of what changes were suggested to Contador’s TT position or when the tests were made, so Riis’s comments might be viewed as wishful thinking.
Contador only recently returned to competition following the controversial decision by the Spanish cycling federation to clear him of clenbuterol charges dating back to last year’s Tour de France. The Contador camp is awaiting word to see if WADA and the UCI will appeal that decision.
Contador admitted he’s barely worked on his time trialing during the many months during his disciplinary process with the Spanish federation. Contador only recently underwent specific time trial testing at the Mallorca velodrome during Saxo Bank training camps on the Mediterranean island.
In his first time trial since winning the 2010 Tour de France, Contador did not blow the doors off anyone, riding to 15th in a rolling, twisting 17.2km test at the Volta ao Algarve, stopping the clock 45 seconds slower than winner Tony Martin (HTC-Highroad), more than two seconds per kilometer slower.
Contador will have another shot at a time trial in his next scheduled event, the three-day Vuelta a Murcia, which concludes Sunday with 12.4km time trial.
Riis also said he and Contador are slowly becoming more comfortable with one another. Riis made a huge bet in signing Contador, and he’s hoping he will have his star rider racing this season despite the still unresolved clenbuterol case.
“Confidence is not something you just pull from a slot machine,” Riis told Sporten. “With the history he’s been through, I can understand he does not have unconditional trust in people. I would not either. But slowly, he’s opening up and sees that we want the best for him.”