Contador: “I can’t say it’s a surprise to beat Chris Froome”

The much-anticipated Critérium du Dauphiné began today with a formidable uphill prologue. The route to Le Mont Chery from Les Gets featured gradients of over 20% – a course that would soon mark out who was on form and who wasn’t. As one of the last riders out, Tinkoff’s leader, Alberto Contador, started out strong, first taking the provisional lead, before taking the stage win with an advantage of six seconds.

“I started really well. Today was a day to use the form that I had built up in training. I am happy with the sensations,” Contador said after the prologue.

“I knew there was a good trial on this course but I didn’t know if it was tough enough to win. My legs were missing speed, my heart was beating like crazy but I can’t say it’s a surprise to beat Chris Froome. However, I didn’t expect to win. It was a very hard time trial, especially from km 2 to 1km to go with a gradient of more than 20 per cent. You had to do the first part really fast and keep the rhythm there as well. The fact it was hard suited me really well.”

“The climb, especially in the final, was tough. It is completely different to doing a time trial on the flat. For riders with characteristics like mine it is very beneficial.”

“I gave 100 per cent and I’m content now with the day. The race is a good marker for the Tour, and the general classification will be very difficult, especially with teams such as Sky, who are here with a really potent team. We will just take it day by day.”