“It was a very, very windy time-trial and the heavier riders could use spoke front wheels”, stated Alberto Contador. “I had to use a 40mm rim depth for more stability. When I went to recon the route this morning with a deeper depth, at the end I was more concentrated on avoiding being blown away by the wind. We tried a 60mm rim depth and a tri-spoke wheel but after 10km I had to change the wheel as it was getting too difficult for me. Then, I opted to go with less depth in order to be focused on the race and not on worrying whether I would crash.”
“The first part went quite better because it was more or less uphill and being lighter gives you a slim advantage, maybe a couple of percentage points. However, the heavier riders were able to gain time in the second part, slightly downhill and at a faster pace. That’s where they gained time on me,” continued Contador.
“The sensations I had from today weren’t bad but, obviously, they weren’t excellent either,” summed up Contador. “I recovered well from yesterday and I reckon I will ride quite better in the final stage than yesterday. Sunday’s stage is straightforward, it will be quite explosive and we have see how we perform tomorrow and the form we have on Sunday. We don’t have any chances at the GC, so we’ll see whether we can aim at a stage win.”
Sport Director Steven de Jongh said: “In the time-trial we had two riders that went full gas, Michael Valgren and Alberto Contador. Michael finished in 29th place so he was ok considering the competition here, and Alberto in the end took 13th, and if you look at his rivals, I think he did a very decent time trial. It was very hard with the wind and with a quite flat parcours and little climbing, I think he did his best.”
“Tomorrow will be a stage for the sprinters”, added De Jongh, “so we’re going to try to save some energy, because the last stage is quite hilly”.
Stage 4, from San Brás de Alportel to Taviraha, over 194 km long, features climbs in the first part, followed by undulating terrain and then a finale that could see the sprinters as protagonists once again or, depending on how the breakaway goes, some skilled finisseurs.
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