Contador crashed twice in stage 11 to Pau, but bounced back in stage 12 to attack on the Port de Balès.
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“I was better than expected,” Contador said. “It was a complicated day. I woke up bad, very sore.
“The attack? I tried to shake it up a little, although it is impossible against a team as strong as the Sky. They have eight men in the race, and they were there with four, but it’s really complicated to break the race with a strong team [controlling it].”
Contador followed on the heels of Warren Barguil (Team Sunweb), who wears the mountains jersey. However, the Spaniard appears far from the best that saw him win seven Grand Tours. His aims to win a stage now in this Tour.
“I’ve been better than expected, because this morning I felt very, very bad, but I’m not happy either.”
Watch: Tour de France stage 12 highlights
Contador sits 11th overall at 7-14 minutes. He and Nairo Quintana (Movistar) are racing worse than expected in this 2017 Tour de France.
“Until I can regain some strength, we cannot plan anything,” Quintana said. “The truth is right now I am not in condition [to win a stage], but the Tour is long and you never know.
“When I was dropped, I thought I was going to lose a lot of time. In the end, I held on as best I could and it wasn’t so bad at the finish.”
Quintana is one of the few in recent history to try to win the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France double. He lost the Giro on the last day to Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) and placed second overall. As it is now, it appears he may not reach Tour’s podium.
“As I’ve said before, this is the first time we’ve tried the double and it didn’t turn out as well as we had hoped,” Quintana continued.
“Sometimes you win the bet, and sometimes you lose, and this time we didn’t win, but another year we’ll do it better.”