Photo: © Bettini
Alberto Contador finished second in Sunday’s final time trial behind only compatriot Luis Leon Sanchez to win the overall classification of the Volta ao Algarve. For Contador, this win, his second consecutive Volta ao Algarve, only garners the attention he deserves (or desires?) as Alberto seems to take every opportunity he can to demonstrate his dominance in the sport. Does this guy take a race off? The argument can be made for peaking at the appropriate time, but Alberto seems to place very well, if not win, almost every single race he enters these days. He certainly does seem driven to remind his competition that he is, in fact, the best.
It’s all almost too easy isn’t it? In what seemed to potentially be a significant blow to Contador’s chances of winning the Volta, the UCI banned the Specialized Shiv time trial bike from competition a mere 24 hours before the final stage. Shrugging off the polemic, Alberto rode a more standard red Specialized S-works to second place finishing ahead of time trial specialists Levi Leipheimer by 9 seconds, Andreas Kloden by 42 seconds and Ignatas Konovalovas by 1 minute and 13 seconds.
“This race has a very great importance, especially for my team because they have done excellent work throughout the tour. We had to take responsibility knowing that other riders could win the race… they finished very tired but we are very happy.” Contador went on to say he had his doubts yesterday, when he tested his time trial bike; but adjustments were made… “the bike was very different, but I felt very good and the end result was good and I could finish as the leader. ”
For Luis Leon Sánchez the second place finish confirmed his form and likely duel with El Pistolero in the Paris-Nice which gets underway March 7th. He’ll have to be on top form to dethrone Alberto, as it’s unlikely we’ll see the “rookie” mistake replay itself from last year which cost Contador the overall.
Stage 5 Results
1 Luis Leon Sánchez (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne___0:21:32
2 Alberto Contador (Spa) Astana_____________0:00:13
3 Sebastien Rosseler (Bel) Team RadioShack___0:00:16
Final general classification
1 Alberto Contador (Spa) Astana_____________19:57:48
2 Luis Leon Sánchez (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne____0:00:30
3 Tiago Machado (Por) Team RadioShack_______0:00:32
Photo: © Bettini