Alberto Contador did a light recovery ride with his teammates of Tinkoff-Saxo during the first rest day of the Giro d'Italia 2015. After an hour of riding, the squad returned to the hotel and Alberto met with the press, after also having tested his time trial position ahead of Saturday’s long time trial.
At the press conference, Alberto Contador, who spends the first rest day of Giro d’Italia in the leader’s jersey, spoke about his race so far, his crash and injury and the challenges ahead.
-This morning you tested the time trial bike, did you want to adjust something?
“I've taken advantage of today’s rest day to test my position on the bike, and although I should feel better in five days, I still decided to slightly widen the position of my handlebars. It costs a little bit aerodynamically but it puts less pressure on my shoulder. In this situation I think it's more important to protect it”.
-Have you changed the position only because of your shoulder or also because the last part of the long TT is uphill?
“No, just to protect my shoulder. This is absolutely a time trial with focus on aerodynamic advantages. When I tested the route in training, I had an average speed of 40km/h and the last climb is very gradual”.
-How is your condition right now, are you satisfied with your overall position?
“I'm happy because I've been getting better every day after my crash. Yesterday my cadence was much closer to normal than during the stage to Campitello Matese. As for my situation in the general classification, I am also happy. I'm ahead of my rivals and they have to move, although it is true that the Giro has only just begun”.
-Aru asked for your collaboration yesterday and then he sprinted, how do you analyze this situation?
“It was something that I more or less expected. In the last kilometer I could have stayed on his wheel to save energy and avoid losing anything, but as I said yesterday, I hope this Giro won’t be won or lost by a second”.
-You began the Giro with the idea of conquering the double and in the first week you crashed. Did you think about all of this, when you crashed?
“Yes, I thought about it in the moment, when I crashed. I've never broken my collarbone and I feared that it was the case. Then I touched my shoulder and I instinctively put it back into position myself. Then I thought about all the sacrifices I had made and that I had sacrificed the beginning of the season for the Giro-Tour double. But it never crossed my mind to go home. As I later told a friend, if I had been forced to go home, I would have needed a psychologist”.
-After your crash, was it only your shoulder injury that limited you or did your legs also tell you to take it easy?
“After the crash, I have been more conservative instead of attacking - both yesterday and on the stage to Campitello Matese. Finishing these stages without losing time was good for me, because there is still more than enough terrain ahead. In this situation I preferred to be conservative”.
-How did the idea of the double start? Do you want to enter the history books after having already won the big three Grand Tours?
“For me it's just an extra motivation. If I’m successful, and that will be really hard, I might be remembered, but I do it only because of the difficulty of it, motivated by the sports side of it”.
-In your career, whenever you've taken control of the leader's jersey, you've never lost it again. Have you thought about where and when you could lose it here?
“I don't want to think about that possibility” (laughs)
-But is there any point of the race, where it could happen?
“The jersey can be lost on all stages, as we saw the other day, but we have to see what happens in the time trial, because Richie Porte is very strong there. Maybe this year, this tradition might not continue, but there are a lot of stages, where I could regain it again, if I lose it. In any case, this is just statistics”.
-Has overcoming the shoulder injury given you even more motivation and desire to win?
“No, because it's almost impossible for me to have more motivation. I have worked hard for this, I have prepared not only physically, but also mentally… we'll see if I can do it”.
-Which of your opponents look strongest after the first week? Do you think that Aru has already spent too much energy and will pay for it?
“My main rivals are still Aru and Porte. Richie has some advantages at the time trial, but we have to see how the standings are after that stage. As for Aru, it is true that he has spent energy, but we have all spent energy. Aru’s terrain is in the high mountains, like me. So for me Aru and Porte are the most dangerous”.
-This first week has been very tough with a lot of stress. Now however, it seems as if there’s a few days of easier terrain before the time trial, are you worried about any stage before the time trial?
“Even though there haven’t been very tough finales, the first week was very demanding, the peloton has suffered and now it seems as if there’s is a period of relaxation, but we must remain attentive every day and above all save strength for the time trial”.
Are you worried about losing the jersey before the time trial?
“No. We thought already about the possibility of transferring the jersey to Niemec, but when we slowed down the pace a little, Astana went to work and nothing happened. The real goal is to have it in Milan, until then the jersey might change owners many times”.