• Contador lets go of his poker face on the climb (Getty Images) (Getty Images Europe)Source: Getty Images Europe
Alberto Contador has been struggling to find the power and consistency that won him the Giro d’Italia in May, but the Tinkoff-Saxo leader demonstrated on Stage 12 of the Tour de France that he is starting to feel the form that may see him still make an appearance on the podium in Paris.
By
Cycling Central

17 Jul 2015 - 9:09 AM  UPDATED 17 Jul 2015 - 9:18 AM

Under the deluge, which had imposed itself on the riders going into the final climb, Contador finished together with his general classification rivals after an array of attacks left the group without any clear winner.

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After crossing the finish line in 14th place behind stage winner Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), who claimed the day from the breakaway, Contador said that he felt better, as the stage progressed.

“I launched an attack, but nobody wanted to cooperate with me so I decided not to go alone.

“Sky was strong but still my condition today was much better. We’ll see how the race will go and if it’s possible to take a step up in the GC.

“It was a difficult day. The first part of the stage was very hot and then it rained. But little by little I felt better. We were all at the same level today. Everybody attacked. So did I, but it didn't work. You must try again every day and I hope that my sensations will return in the last week.” - Alberto Contador

Australian team-mate Michael Rogers fought to keep Contador in contention, but struggled in the conditions of the day. “It was a tough stage and on the last climb I was really trying to send a message to my legs to keep going but it didn’t really get through,” Rogers, who finished the stage more than 10 minutes behind his team leader, said.

“Alberto performs better in these conditions, he likes the rain and for some reason he always performs well in the wet. He is a real fighter. When he feels good, he attacks and when he doesn’t, he suffers and tries to hang on for as long as possible.”

At the start of the Tour, the Tinkoff-Saxo team aimed to deliver Contador to a Giro-Tour double victory. Unable to respond with his previous flying form during early attacks in the Tour, Contador currently sits in sixth position overall, 4min 04sec behind the yellow jersey of Chris Froome (Team Sky).

Rogers revealed the team hope to salvage enough time to as least claim third overall given it is now doubtful that Contador will claim the victory he'd wanted.

“We are hopeful that we can get a stage win with him,” Rogers said. “The yellow jersey will be tough but the podium is still possible and we’ll try every day. The coming stages are days of transition although there are some tough climbs.”

The next few days will also be critical for Tinkoff-Saxo’s Peter Sagan, who holds the green sprinters’ jersey by a narrow two points over Lotto-Soudal’s André Greipel.

“I had a bit of recovery on the last part of the stage and we’ll see what we can do tomorrow,” Sagan said. “It could be an important stage but I’ll have to see how I feel.

"We are in a very hard part of the Tour with many mountain stages but it’s true that the fight for the green jersey is really close right now. I want to keep trying and fight for this jersey.”

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