Alberto Contador won’t fade away

Meaning two things. One, he’s resurgent this year. Two, if he’s not leading a stage race, he’ll be snapping at whoever is leading until the very last day, like a yappy little dog with a Napoleon complex.

Contador finally gained the Dauphiné lead on stage seven. As Sky reached the end of their protracted mountain lead-out, he attacked. Chris Froome opted to make use of Richie Porte to chase him down rather than responding himself, but it never happened. The fact that Porte was there at all was good news for Sky after he’d gone AWOL on stage two, but the fact that Froome burnt out before reaching Contador and was passed by a couple of riders in the final few hundred metres will be a concern.

A mitigating factor might be that Froome had fallen the day before and was nursing wounds, but I do sometimes wonder about the way he paces himself in stage races. He tends to go all out in some of the early stages and isn’t always the strongest as the race winds to a close. Even last year, during his Tour win, both Joaquim Rodriguez and Nairo Quintana were climbing better than him at the very end when they hadn’t been a week before.

Stage eight of the Dauphiné has climbs and so there’s still a chance Froome might win the war. Whether he does or not, the testy canine Napoleon will obviously be up for another one soon enough.


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