With only four major mountain stages to come in this year's race, it would take a huge effort from Aru to overtake the Spaniard, who has consistently been able to account for the Italian's accelerations throughout this year's race.
"I didn’t imagine being in this situation with these time differences here before the final week," Contador told journalists in Giustino. "I thought I could have the jersey, but also that these stages in last week could be my chance to get the jersey. I am happy with this situation and I'm better than I expected, but an important part of the race remains.”
The biggest travails for Contador's pink campaign come tonight with the infamous Mortirolo as well as four other peaks, and on the horror double-header on stages 19, and 20 - which includes the lofty summit of Sestriere. For Contador, the biggest concern is maintaining his lead through the Milano finish, setting aside any stage ambitions and doubling down on a conervative agenda for the remainder of the race.
"Right now, a stage victory is secondary, I cannot jeopardize the GC, which is my goal. If it comes, fine, but on the other hand, winning one of the remaining stages would require an effort of more than an hour and I can pay a price for that, not only in view of my program, but also in relations to the last week here at the Giro.”
The Giro d'Italia concludes 31 May in Milan.