Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Alberto Contador's Daily Stage Report

“I only want one thing”

Alberto Contador lit up the final climb of the Peyresourde Monday, attacking Michael Rasmussen’s yellow jersey again and again. With the very first attack, Rasmussen alone was able to regain his wheel, as all of the other contenders slid backward. Contador was far from finished, however. The “Chicken” might have wondered if the sky was falling as Alberto’s attacks rained down on him, once, twice, five times in all. "I attacked Rasmussen to try to challenge him," said Contador. "I saw that he was a little worse than yesterday, but he was able to follow me.” Each time, Rasmussen clawed himself back to Alberto’s wheel, but clearly with ever-increasing difficulty.

The final attack before the summit might well have gained a lasting gap, if Alberto hadn’t been forced to slow by a traffic jam of support cars. At the top, he was joined by teammate George Hincapie, part of the day’s original breakaway. With Hincapie’s well-timed help, Contador and Rasmussen raced down the final descent. They gained nearly a minute on all other contenders, including third place Cadel Evans, one of the day’s goals. “Today I’ve gained more time on Evans, which is very good for consolidating second place overall, looking toward the last time trial,” Contador said.

On the small climb just before the finish line, he attacked for the sixth time. Again, Rasmussen pulled himself slowly back. The Dane then sat on Contador’s wheel in the final stretch, but Alberto had the finishing strength to stay in front crossing the line.

Alberto was quite satisfied with how he felt during the stage. “The legs have been very good. It’s a pity I couldn’t leave Rasmussen, but we’ve put on a nice spectacle, and there have been some moments when I’ve had him on the ropes. This gives me a lot of confidence for the last mountain stage”.

And Contador’s plan for that stage? “On Wednesday, I’m going to play for it all. Second place doesn't matter. I’m going to risk all to win. If I end up in sixth, it doesn't matter. I only want one thing: when I finish this Tour, I want to go home knowing that I’ve done everything possible to win.”

Alberto's results:

Stage 15 10th 5.31
Young rider 2nd 1.06

GC 2nd 2.23
Young rider 1st 69.54.37 (Closest rival is Soler at 12.37 )

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