Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff) will try to isolate and overthrow current Tour de France leader, Chris Froome (Sky) in the coming stages, according to team boss, Bjarne Riis.
After Contador lost additional time in today’s time trial to Mont-Saint-Michel, Riis told media including Cycling Weekly, “We will isolate Froome and see what happens.”
Contador lost 2’15” in today’s time trial in addition to his 1’45” loss from Saturday’s stage to Ax 3 Domaines.
“I’m happy with Alberto’s ride; he did a good crono. It was not too bad,” Riis said. “Froome is just stronger at the moment.”
The dust kicked up around Mont-Saint-Michel, but it was clear enough to see that Froome took another step towards winning the Tour de France.
Contador won the Tour de France three times (with the third title, in 2010, being stripped for doping) however today, the Spaniard looked unable to win again.
Saxo’s leader lost 2’15” over 33 kilometres today. He now sits in fourth, 3’54” behind in the overall rankings. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) is in second place at 3’25” and Bauke Mollema (Belkin) is in third at 3’37”.
“I hoped to lose less, but I thought that time was going to be a possibility,” Riis added. “It doesn’t change anything at all: if it’s two minutes, if it’s one minute or if it’s four minutes – you still have to attack. It’s still the same race.”
Froome, according to Riis, will face a rough ride. Saxo-Bank already helped Movistar and other teams to isolate Froome in Sunday’s stage to Bagnères-de-Bigorre and while Froome survived, he risked losing it all.
Riis may be planning for something similar to last year’s Vuelta a España. To win, Contador made a daring last-ditch attack early into the penultimate mountain stage to win the race from Joaquím Rodríguez (Katusha).
“We will isolate Froome and see what happens. Obviously, his team is not as strong as ours,” continued Riis. “We’re not going to give up just like that. We are going to make good plans and tactics and go for it.”
Riis would not say where, but admitted that it would be hard to catch Froome out in the next three days. He explained that the sprinters’ teams would control the race until the Mont Ventoux stage on Sunday.
“The race will be interesting,” he said, “There’s a lot of stuff to do.”
Tour de France 2013: Cycling Weekly’s coverage index