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What we know almost halfway through the Vuelta

Contador is improving

One of the most surprising aspects of the first week is that Contador has yet to win a stage. It certainly hasn’t been for a lack of trying. At Arrate, in just the third day of racing, Contador attacked no less than seven times. Up the steepest lower flanks of the Valdezcaray climb the following day, Contador surged clear again and only Froome and the surprising Nicolas Roche (Ag2r La Mondiale) dared stay with him. At the Gallina climb Saturday, Contador seemed to miss-fire his attack and went too early, allowing Rodríguez and Valverde to surge around him.

It’s clear that Contador lacks the finishing punch he typically has, but it’s also equally clear that Contador looks to be getting stronger as the race unfolds. That was the plan with the Saxo-Tinkoff camp, especially with Contador only having six days of racing in his legs before the start of the Vuelta after completing his controversial clenbuterol ban. The “Pistolero” looks to be hitting his stride just in time for the decisive TT and the hellish trio of climbing stages waiting this weekend in Asturias that should all but crown the eventual winner. Contador looks locked and loaded; we’ll see if he can finish off the job.