Contador triumphs in Algarve

Eurosport - Sun, 21 Feb 18:17:00 2010

Alberto Contador won the Volta ao Algarve after finishing second behind Luis Leon Sanchez on the fifth and final stage in Portugal.

2010 Tour Algarve Alberto Contador (Astana) - 0

Spanish Astana rider Contador, who won stage three on Friday, was 13 seconds slower than compatriot Sanchez of Caisse d'Epargne on the 17.2km individual time trial to take the victory.

"It's never easy, because you never know how your legs will respond after seven months," said Contador, who has not raced since winning the Tour de France last year.

"The team was incredible, they were able to control the race," he added. "I'm also very happy because I had some doubts about using a bicycle that I didn't know, but I was able to keep the yellow jersey. It's good. I'm very happy.

Sanchez claimed second spot overall with his performance, 30 seconds behind Contador.

"It was very tough for us and the rain in the previous day was particularly bad for our legs," he said.

"I have to thank to my team mates for all they did for me to do so well in the general classification, and I have to congratulate to Alberto because he deserved it. He was the best."

Belgian Sebastian Rosseler, who took RadioShack's first stage victory on Saturday, was third on the run from Lagoa to Portimao.

His team-mate Tiago Machado was third in the final standings.

It was Contador's second victory in succession in the race, one claimed despite his Specialized Shiv time trial bike being adjudged illegal by the UCI just before the race - forcing him to race a replacement.

Britain's David Millar (Garmin-Transitions) suffered a bad crash and came home bloodied in 133rd position, 104th overall.

STAGE FOUR

Sebastien Rosseler secured a first victory for Team Radioshack by winning stage four of the Volta ao Algarve in Portugal, while Alberto Contador remained in yellow.

Belgian Rosseler was in an attacking group of six with 15km to go before launching a solo attack that ultimately led to victory after the 169km trek from Cacela to Tavira

Rosseler built up a 47 second lead and then still had 20 seconds to spare come the finish with Mickael Delage (Omega Pharma - Lotto) and Imanol Erviti (Caisse d'Epargne) coming in second and third respectively.

Andre Greipel led the peloton in three minutes back with Contador safely in the pack to hang onto his 15 second overall lead from Tiago Machado.

The Tour of France winner will now be big favourite to complete overall victory in Sunday's 17.2km individual time trial.

STAGE THREE

Alberto Contador picked up his first win of 2010 as he won the 173.7km third stage of the Volta ao Algarve in Portugal and took the overall lead in the race.

The Astana star was well set up by his team-mates to attack hard on the final stretch of the stage netween Castro Marim and Malhao, and he powered clear of RadioShack duo Tiago Machado and Levi Leipheimer on the final ascent.

Contador's win also put him at the top of the general classification.

"I'm thrilled by the work that was done by the team, both yesterday and today," said the 2009 Tour de France champion.

"Everything worked out perfect. I was able to finish the job, but the victory is because of my teammates.

"I am delighted that after seven months without racing I have managed to win today because I did not expect it."

Contador's final margin of victory was just 11 seconds over Machado with Leipheimer 11 seconds further back, but the RadioShack team boss Jose Azevedo was not disappointed to have lost out by such a narrow margin.

"It's the first race of the season for our riders. We have to be careful and not too audacious," he said.

"The most important thing is that Tiago proved he has worked hard and that he has a place in this big team. Tiago was nervous before the season. Now we see there was no need for it."

Cervelo Test Team's Heinrich Haussler was involved in one of several crashes during the stage and did not complete the day's riding, while Jeremy Hunt has pulled out of the race with knee pain.

STAGE TWO

Andre Greipel held on to take victory in stage two of the Volta ao Algarve in Portugal.

The German sprinter, who had been pipped to victory on stage one, held off a late challenge from Jurgen Roelandts and Samuel Sanchez in abysmal conditions to wrestle the overall lead from yesterday's winner Benoit Vaugrenard.

David Vitoria lead for 195km but could not quite hold on the lead, being swept up by the peloton at the foot of the final steep hill with 200m to go.

STAGE ONE

Benoit Vaugrenard of Française des Jeux took the first stage of the Volta ao Algarve in Portugal.The French rider attacked late on the 157.5km ride from Estadio Algarve to Albufeira to claim the stage victory and assume the overall lead of the race.

Vaugrenard made his move in the final kilometre and managed to hold off Joan Horrach (Team Katusha) and André Greipel (HTC-Columbia) in a sprint finish.

The race continues on Thursday as the peloton heads the 207.5km from Vila do Bispo to Lagos.

Eurosport

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