Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) survived a late mechanical scare on stage 3 of the Criterium du Dauphine to retain his overall lead and used his post-stage press conference to praise stage winner and potential Tour de France rival Fabio Aru (Astana).
The Italian attacked on the descent of the Côte de Sécheras and thwarted the sprinters to take his victory since claiming the overall title in the 2015 Vuelta a Espana.
Contador had no thoughts of winning the stage after suffering a mechanical at the base of the final descent. He was forced to swap bikes with teammate Roman Kreuziger before a frantic chase back to the peloton.
“The change happened very quickly,” Contador said after the stage. “At first I didn’t want to change but the back wheel was broken and I had no choice.
Contador tried to distance himself from the pressure of leading the race – a theme of all his press conferences so far – by adding that he would not have been angered if he had shed time and the race lead.
“There was no panic and I was quickly back in the bunch. Also there’s not as much pressure here as there is in some races. If I had lost time today it would not have mattered that much.”
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