Thursday, March 27, 2008
Contador On Top In The Mountains
Alberto Contador continued his Astana team's winning ways. The Spaniard won solo on the mountain top finish of the Puerto de Collada de Salcedillo, with efforts by Mauricio Soler (Barloworld) to catch the Spaniard falling short.
The final climb of the day saw a four-man break swallowed up by the peloton, which became consistently smaller. Soler set the decisive attack, with Contador the only one being able to react.
Contador was happy after the finish and praised his team. "Our Astana Cycling Team worked again so hard for me. Therefore, I really wanted to win this stage with its difficult finish. I knew Soler would be dangerous, but I had no difficulties to follow him and shake him off."
Leipheimer attacked four kilometres from the finish to weaken Contador's rivals. Soler countered and Contador went after the Colombian. Leipheimer finished more than a minute behind Contador and is out of the podium spots now, but his Spanish team captain increased his lead to 39 seconds in the overall classification, with his main rival of the day, Soler, now in second place
The roads were dry, but the piled up snow on the sides of the road made the stage look a winter sports event
With only one day remaining, Contador looks set to get another victory for Astana, which continues its quest to prove that they should be invited to the big races. The final stage is 158 kilometres long, going from Guardo to Riaño.
1 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Astana 3.54.17 (41,181 km/h)
2 Mauricio Soler (Col) Barloworld 0.11
3 Thomas Dekker (Ned) Rabobank 0.33
4 Sergio Pardilla Bellon (Spa) Burgos Monumental
5 Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank
6 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank 0.43
7 Chris Anker Sørensen (Den) Team CSC 0.49
8 David De La Fuente Rasilla (Spa) Saunier Duval - Scott 0.59
9 Danail Andonov (Bul) Benfica 1.03
10 José Rujano Guillen (Ven) Caisse d'Epargne 1.05
11 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana