BORJA, Spain, Sept 02, 2014 (AFP) – Two-time Tour of Spain winner Alberto
Contador took the overall lead in this year’s edition on Tuesday as German
Tony Martin won the 10th stage, a 36.7-kilometre time-trial.
Contador, 31 and who finished fourth, 39 seconds slower than triple
time-trial world champion Martin, replaced Colombian rider Nairo Quintana in
the overall leader’s red jersey.
For Contador it represents quite a comeback after, like Chris Froome, he
failed to finish the Tour de France because of injury, in his case a broken
“Nobody ould have imagined that I would be in red today, it is an enormous
surprise,” the Tinkoff team leader told Spanish TV station TVE.
“As a result of that I really believe I can win.”
Quintana, who took a three-second lead on Sunday, came to grief when he
fell after a dozen kilometres, as he was bending down to fiddle with his right
shoe, and lost more than three minutes to Contador.
Quintana, bidding for a second Grand Tour win this season having won the
Tour of Italy, limited the damage somewhat in the remainder of the stage and
lies in 11th spot. (Video of Quintana crashing: http://universalsports.com/video/2014-vuelta-a-espana-stage-10-quintana-crashes/)
“It seems at first sight that I have only grazes,” said Quintana on
crossing the line.
“We will see tomorrow how I feel. My objective in this Tour after all is to
help Alejandro Valverde and we will see in the mountains if I can do something
Contador, winner of the Vuelta in 2008 and 2012, extended his lead over all
his major rivals for overall victory as he was 21sec faster than compatriot
Valverde and 53sec quicker than Britain’s 2013 Tour de France winner Froome,
who failed to fire even though on paper he was the best of the time-trialists
amongst the race favourites.
Wednesday’s 11th stage is a 153.4km ride from Pamplona to San Miguel de
Aralar in the northern community of Navarre and will be one for the climbers
as it finishes at altitude.