Saxo-Tinkoff slipped away from the Tour de France's podium during the final test today. Two-time race winner Alberto Contador lost second overall and fell to fourth on the Annecy-Semnoz summit finish, one day before the race ends in Paris.
"When one gives everything they have, that's it... I could not be at 100 per cent," the Spaniard told media at the finish line. "One must congratulate those who have been able to ride away."
Contador and team-mate Roman Kreuziger cracked between nine and eight kilometres to race. Joaquím Rodríguez (Katusha) attacked, and Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and Chris Froome (Sky) followed.
Froome secured his race lead ahead of tomorrow's flat stage into Paris by finishing third. Quintana won the stage, the white jersey of young rider and took over the polka-dot jersey. Rodríguez placed third.
Contador started the stage at 5-11 minutes back, but now sits in fourth at 7-10. He crossed the line over two minutes after Quintana and Rodríguez, who jumped up to second and third overall.
The places and jerseys - including green for Peter Sagan (Cannondale) - will likely stay the same with sprint finish predicted in Paris tomorrow.
The fourth place is a blow for Contador, who won the Vuelta a España last year. However, since losing his third Tour title to a doping positive and serving a related ban, he has lacked firepower.
Saxo-Tinkoff continued to defend Contador throughout the doping ban and comeback. In the Tour, instead of switching gears to Kreuziger, it rode for Contador. When it came to the mountains, however, they were underpowered.
"Of course, we're disappointed to be thrown off the podium on this final and crucial mountain stage of the Tour," Sports Director Fabrizio Guidi said in a press release. "[It] is a bitter pill to swallow."
Tour de France 2013: Cycling Weekly's coverage index
Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
Founded in 1891, Cycling Weekly and its team of expert journalists brings cyclists in-depth reviews, extensive coverage of both professional and domestic racing, as well as fitness advice and 'brew a cuppa and put your feet up' features. Cycling Weekly serves its audience across a range of platforms, from good old-fashioned print to online journalism, and video.
CW LIVE: B & B Hotels, team expected to sign Mark Cavendish, collapses; Bahrain Victorious teases new kit; Chris Froome warns of the dangers of Covid-19; L39ion of Los Angeles announce 2023 roster and Tom Pidcock's cyclo-cross calendar confirmed
All the news that's fit to print in the world of cycling
By Tom Thewlis • Published
A lot more UK cyclists did 100-mile rides in 2022 than 2021, Strava data reveals
The company's Year in Sport report shows exercise trends have rebounded to pre-pandemic levels
By Tom Davidson • Published