Alberto Contador has suffered his ups and downs at this year's edition of the Vuelta. He started of with a bad day on the first uphill finish of the race and when he crashed on his side after that, many thought that he would abandon, including Contador himself.
But the plucky Spanish star climbed very well in the next few stages, before over-extending himself trying to attack Quintana in Stage 10 and cracking in the final kilometres.
“I’m fine, I’m going to enjoy what the race holds ahead of me and I’m happy there are lots of hard days left in the Vuelta," said Contador.
“There are lots more opportunities. I have to remember I’m a long way down on Nairo and his team is very strong. That makes things a lot more difficult.”
“But if I’m here in the Vuelta, I’m not here just to make up the numbers.”
“I’ve got a lot of very different sensations, but I think I’m going to be more cautious from now on,” he observed.
“At times I’m too impulsive, I went all out when it’d have been more intelligent to try and sit up, but that’s my style. Now I’m a long way off on the overall and my options on victory are very scant.
Contador took one of his most memorable Grand Tour victories in the 2012 Vuelta, where a long-range attack on a stage to Fuente De netted him over a two and a half minute swing on previous race leader Joaquim Rodriguez.
“I will have to go on this day by day, take advantage of what opportunities I can. There are lots of stages which end in a single climb and that’s not so good for me.”
“If I go out with an abandon in the Tour and a bad result in the Vuelta, I wouldn’t have wanted this to be my last year,” he said, after a question where he was asked if he would have preferred to retire now after a season where his results haven't been as good as the past.
“This year’s Vuelta could be good, also next year I’ve got lots of plans, so in that sense I’m happy, there’s things to look forward to. The level of support I’ve got is also incredible, in every kilometre of this race, people are cheering me on. So it wouldn’t have been a good decision to go out now.”