Alberto Contador: “Tomorrow the victory will be a matter of 2 or 3 seconds”

    • Filled in News in English 7 Март 2010 в 12:22, author: KazakhNeRider
    • Views: 9 158.

    Photo ContadorInfo

    Alberto Contador will take the start tomorrow in the opening time trial of Paris-Nice, covering a route that he reconned today on his new bicycle. On the new Shiv, modified according to UCI regulations, he hopes to produce a far better performance than in the Algarve, where he was forced to compete with an obsolete model and without time for training. Today, in a press conference, he offered his latest impressions.

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    After winning in 2007 and having shown that you were able to win in 2009, what does Paris-Nice mean to you?

    It’s a race that I really like and which is held at a period of the year when I’m usually in good form. Besides, it’s a little rehearsal for the Tour de France, with very tense stages, similar routes—above all in the flat stages—and with an extremely high level. Of the first races of the season, it’s probably the most important.

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    What lessons have you learned from last year’s bonk?

    That was a very important stage and you learn a lot of things from days like that, because really, when things don’t go well is when you can extract some lessons.  There were many factors on that day, but the things I derived from it were good, like how you have to be more stoic in the race, to think about the other candidates for the general and prioritize who the more dangerous ones are, besides, obviously, you can never forget to eat and drink, and even though all riders know that, there’s always some day that you forget.

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    How’s the route of this time trial and what do you expect from the new bike?

    It’s a tough route and, even though it’s only 8 kilometers, it’s possible to take more time on other riders than you might expect. About the bike, there’s a big difference. This is the Shiv, the one I’ve gotten used to in training, and it’s totally different from the one at the Algarve. I hope to give it a good premiere tomorrow.

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    What’s the difference between the two bikes?

    They’re completely different because this is a more evolved phase, it’s faster in the wind tunnel, lighter and more rigid. They’re changing many factors and everything’s better.

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    On the eve of Paris-Nice 2009 you said that you’d never be great against the clock and the next day you won. During the year you confirmed your improvement and now you’ve gotten second in the Algarve, are you a time-trial specialist or is it that you come into form more easily?

    It’s a little of both things. It’s true that since becoming a professional I’ve done well at the time trial and I’ve improved thanks to equipment and taking care of all the details, but it’s also certain that I take form very quickly. What’s important, nevertheless, is the very, very hard work that’s behind it all. It might seem like I go to the race and win thanks to my inherent qualities, but what really produces that is the work.

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    Has Team Astana changed much since last year, are you calmer now?

    Yes, this year I have much more peace of mind for concentrating on my goals as an athlete and I’m also very happy with the team, because I’m in touch with all the riders and, for example, there are a lot of them that wanted to come to this race and there wasn’t a place for everybody. That indicates the great motivation that they have.

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    At the beginning of the season, people were talking a lot about how weak Astana was but, after the Algarve, they’re starting to say that the team is stronger than it seemed, do you agree?

    Of course the team has a very good level and its performance at the Algarve has been unbelievable. I hope things go that way all year, but it’s also certain that controlling the Tour de France is not the same. At any rate, I’m sure that I’ll have a very strong and very competitive team, even if others maybe have more big names and more experience.

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    In 2007, you won at Mende, do you think that this year you’ll be able to take differences, and what are the key stages of the race?

    I’ve got good memories of that year, although not so good of the 2005 Tour de France. The climb at Mende is very different from the one last year, it’s short and explosive; the gaps will be minimal. It’ll be a very difficult race, like Paris-Nice always is, but with such small time gaps, you’ll have to control many riders.

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    The time trial tomorrow is a goal, who are the favorites?

    It’ll be a good test for me. I’ll put everything into it and hope to do well, but winning or not will be a question of 2 or 3 seconds and there are other riders who are very strong. Tomorrow there’s a big group of favorites, like Millar, Vande Velde, Samuel Sánchez, Luis León, Chavanel…and lots of others that I’m not mentioning. I hope to have a good day, but the time gaps will be minimal.

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    (Official press release,  Alberto Contador press office)

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    Also see the Alberto Contador Notebook

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