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Alberto Contador surges into Catalunya lead

  • By Andrew Hood
  • Published Mar. 23, 2011
  • Updated Mar. 24, 2011 at 2:32 PM EDT
Contador grabs the lead.

With his sporting career in the hands of lawyers and bureaucrats, Alberto Contador did the only thing that he could do: attack with his legs.

Contador grabs the lead.

Just hours before the UCI will decide on a possible appeal in his ongoing doping case, Contador seemed to turn that tension to his advantage and churned his pedals to drop the hammer with under 4km to go in a bid to drop a very large group of favorites in Wednesday’s mountain stage into Andorra.

Contador (Saxo Bank-Sungard) surged into the overall lead at the Volta a Catalunya with an emotional victory that was his best way to send a signal that he’s never one to go down without a fight. Levi Leipheimer (RadioShack) made a brave effort to try to neutralize his former teammate’s effort, but Contador turned on the afterburners to solo home the victory.

Only a day earlier, Contador said the final climb simply wasn’t steep enough to really bust up the peloton. At 8.2km with an average grade of 6.5 percent, there were still 50 riders with slightly more than 7km to go. Saxo Bank-Sungard set a solid pace at the nose of the action to keep things under control as the bunch wound up the climb.

Contador decided to make a long attack to put his rivals in the red. Leipheimer and Michele Scarponi (Lampre) did their best to try to stay close to Contador, while behind it was every man for himself.

Earlier in the stage, Tom Peterson (Garmin-Cervelo) worked into the day’s main breakaway, but with the GC hanging in the balance, the move was neutralized ahead of the day’s final run up to the Vallnord ski station.

As expected, overnight leader Gatis Smukulis (HTC-Highroad) faded back into the gruppetto.

Now all eyes turn to the UCI and whether it will appeal the Spanish cycling federation’s decision to clear Contador on his clenbuterol positive.


Stage 3: La Vall d’en Bas – Vallnord (183.9 km)

  • 1. Alberto Contador Velasco, (ESP), Saxo Bank Sungard, 4:45:31
  • 2. Michele Scarponi, (ITA), Lampre-Isd, at 0:23
  • 3. Levi Leipheimer, (USA), Team Radioshack, at 0:23
  • 4. Daniel Martin, (IRL), Team Garmin-Cervelo, at 0:35
  • 5. Christopher Horner, (USA), Team Radioshack, at 0:35

Full Results

Overall Standings

  • 1. Alberto Contador Velasco, (ESP), Saxo Bank Sungard, 13:05:55
  • 2. Levi Leipheimer, (USA), Team Radioshack, at 0:23
  • 3. Michele Scarponi, (ITA), Lampre-Isd, at 0:23
  • 4. Daniel Martin, (IRL), Team Garmin-Cervelo, at 0:35
  • 5. Christopher Horner, (USA), Team Radioshack, at 0:35

Full Results

FILED UNDER: News / Road TAGS: /

Andrew Hood

Andrew Hood

Andrew Hood cut his journalistic teeth at Colorado dailies before the web boom opened the door to European cycling in the mid-1990s. Hood has covered every Tour de France since 1996 and has been VeloNews' European correspondent since 2002.

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