The multiple grand tour winner said he had a bad day, which resulted in him finishing 2min 51sec down on Stage 10 winner and yellow jersey wearer Chris Froome. That puts Contador in sixth position in the general classification, 4min 04sec back from the lead.
“It was a complicated day," Contador said afterwards. "I knew it was going to be a climb where you could lose a lot of time if you weren’t in form, and that’s what happened.
"I couldn’t breathe and I still can’t. I couldn’t get rid of the lactic acid in my legs and I couldn’t follow the pace. It was a bad day, and we’ve seen that Froome was better than everybody else. I was unable to follow the pace."
Contador was realistic about his performance today, but refused to admit defeat.
“The Tour is a very long race and it’s true that today I wasn’t in top shape, nevertheless I can also be in a situation where my shape is much more similar to the shape Froome had today," he said.
"I don’t take it for granted that he will win the Tour. We have just entered the mountains and the race is not concluded yet.”