Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank) has yet to find out whether the UCI or WADA will appeal over his positive test for clenbuterol, but in the meantime he continues racing – and winning.

The Spaniard took a solo victory in Pal, Andorra, in the Volta a Catalunya’s only summit finish of this year, and now heads the general classification. As if that were not enough to underline his domination of this year’s race, he is also at the top of the King of the Mountains classification.

Contador’s victory, his fourth of 2011, came after he attacked with around five kilometres to go on the one really steep section on the final ascent and at the end of a day packed with Pyrenean climbs.

Contador’s old Astana team-mate Levi Leipheimer (RadioShack) got across briefly, but with another acceleration, the Spaniard went away alone before crossing the finish line with his trademark ‘pistol’ salute.

Second at 23 seconds was Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD), with Leipheimer third. Dan Martin (Garmin-Cervélo) finished fourth, 34 seconds back, on a climb he knows well – it was here that he had Alejandro Valverde up against the ropes in 2009 – and the Irishman has now moved up to the same position overall.

23 seconds and 35 seconds do not sound like huge gaps, but Pal is hardly the steepest of climbs, and Contador said afterwards he was not expecting to do so well.

“I did what I could, and the team was good all day,” he said. “When it got to five kilometres to go there were still 50 riders in the main pack, so I went for it.”

“I thought it was likely somebody would get across, but when Leipheimer did, I managed to drop him pretty quickly.”

Asked about the UCI appeal, he said simply “I’m just concentrating on the race.”

Although Contador’s margin is a small one, and there are four days remaining before the final bunch sprint finish in Barcelona on Sunday, he has a very good chance of winning this year’s very dull route.

With one summit finish now behind him, no time trial and no more tough days in the mountains, the Spaniard’s chances of success from here on will depend largely on his team’s ability to keep his rivals under control, rather than himself.

If Saxo Bank do their job well, Contador will be well-nigh unbeatable. And before the race is over, one way or another he will know about the UCI’s decision on his clenbuterol case.

Results

Volta a Catalunya 2011 stage three

1. Alberto Contador (Spa) Saxo Bank


2. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-ISD at 23 secs

3. Levi Leipheimer (USA) Radioshack at same time

4. Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Cervelo at 35 secs

5. Chris Horner (USA) Radioshack

6. Alex Ardila (Col) Colombia Es Pasion at same time

7. Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale at 38 secs

8. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Sky

9. Xavier Tondo (Spa) Movistar at same time

10. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing at 50 secs

Overall classification after stage three

1. Alberto Contador (Spa) Saxo Bank


2. Levi Leipheimer (USA) Radioshack at 23 secs

3. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-ISD at same time

4. Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Cervelo at 35 secs

5. Chris Horner (USA) Radioshack at same time

6. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Sky at 38 secs

7. Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale at same time

8. Xavier Tondo (Spa) Movistar at same time

9. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing at 50 secs

10. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank at 1-12

Thomas Peterson escape, Volta a Catalunya 2011, stage three



Garmin’s Thomas Peterson in an earlier escape

Alberto Contador and Levi Leipheimer, Volta a Catalunya 2011, stage three



Alberto Contador leads Levi Leipheimer

Michele Scarponi and Levi Leipheimer, Volta a Catalunya 2011, stage three



Michele Scarponi and Levi Leipheimer

Alberto Contador wins, Volta a Caatalunya 2011 stage three



Alberto Contador wins stage three

Alberto Contador on podium, Volta a Catalunya 2011, stage three



Alberto Contador takes the overall lead

Related links



Volta a Catalunya 2011 stage two: Petacchi wins



Volta a Catalunya 2011 stage one: Smukulia solos to win opener

  • Bert

    He (Contador) shouldn’t even be racing!!!

  • J Barry Silcock

    Good to see Cadel plugging away and hope Contador survives the UCI appeal.