Nairo Quintana can't keep up with Alberto Contador on the descent of the Port de Bales and finishes 13 seconds behind the Spaniard

Many say the winner of the Tour de France will come down to who is the best climber, but Alberto Contador showed descending is just as important as he won stage three of the Route du Sud.

The Spaniard, coming off the back of an impressive Giro d’Italia win just three weeks ago, battled it out with Nairo Quintana on the race’s penultimate stage and rolled over the finish line 13 seconds ahead of the Colombian.

Quintana is widely thought of as being the best climber in the professional peloton – growing up at 3,000m altitude in South America certainly helps that – but Contador, seven years his elder, was more than a match.

With three category one climbs between Izaourt and Bangers-de-Luchons it was always going to be the Port de Bales ascent that would settle the stage.

>>> Which is the best Tour de France warmup race?

The pair were side-by-side as they summitted the mountain ahead of the peloton, with Ag2r-La Mondiale’s Pierre-Roger Latour tagging along as well.

Contador, however, had another trick up his sleeve after they’d reached the top – attacking on the descent and opening up an unassailable lead over Quintana on the 20km drop to the finish.

In the end, Contador’s lead got out to 13 seconds over the Movistar rider, who finished 22 seconds ahead of Latour.

The win and the five-second time bonus sees Contador assume the lead of the race by 17 seconds ahead of Quintana with one relatively flat stage to come on Sunday.

 Cycling Weekly looks at the contenders for the 2015 Tour de France

  • Gary Jogela

    Classic

  • blemcooper

    “None of this team control…”

    I can still see Sky going with that game plan as far as it’ll take them (could very well be to yellow in Paris, but can’t wait to see how it turns out!), despite losing the camper van.

  • Julian Casa

    that is awsome! Go Contador!

  • aThingOrTwo

    Ominous.

  • Psalmon

    Contador showed he knows how to race bikes. There are a lot of these types of stages in the Tour this year. The other guy who acts like this is Nibali. He races bikes as he showed last year and in the stage he won in the Dauphine. If you want to win the tour this year you better be ready to race any time any where. None of this team control to the finishing climb and duke it out in the TT. It is going to be great.

  • dale

    Contador is the Terminator, he can’t be bargained with, he can’t be reasoned with, he doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And he absolutely will not stop, ever, until he wins the race! haha