Alberto Contador looks for positives in 'better than expected' Tour de France stage 12

Nairo Quintana also says Giro/Tour double "hasn't turned out as well as we'd hoped"

Alberto Contador crosses the line after stage 12 of the Tour de France
(Image credit: Yuzuru Sunada)

Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) described his ride on stage 12 of the Tour de France to the Peyragudes summit finish as "better than expected" after four crashes in previous days.

Contador crashed twice in stage 11 to Pau, but bounced back in stage 12 to attack on the Port de Balès.

"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]."

>>> Chris Froome loses yellow jersey to Fabio Aru as Romain Bardet wins Tour de France summit finish

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.

Quintana lost 2-04 minutes today to stage winner Romain Bardet (Ag2r La Mondiale) and slightly less to new leader Fabio Aru (Astana). He sits eighth at 4-01.

The Sky-led group dropped the 2016 Vuelta a España and 2014 Giro d'Italia winner on the Col de Peyresourde.

>>> Will Team Sky now ride more aggressively to win this Tour de France for Chris Froome?

"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."

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Gregor Brown

Gregor Brown is an experienced cycling journalist, based in Florence, Italy. He has covered races all over the world for over a decade - following the Giro, Tour de France, and every major race since 2006. His love of cycling began with freestyle and BMX, before the 1998 Tour de France led him to a deep appreciation of the road racing season.