Volta ao Algarve 2009: Stage 3. Colom takes the stage
Team Astana’s Alberto Contador put on an impressive show Sunday in
Portugal’s Volta ao Algarve stage three finish up the Alto do Malhão. The triple Grand Tour winner finished second in a tight battle with ex-teammate and close friend Antonio Colom of team Katusha.
“I am satisfied with the result because it was my first test of the season and have been good enough,” said Contador.
The 175-kilometre stage, marked with five categorised climbs, concluded with a 15-kilometre run up the Alto do Malhão. The favourites were all together until the final 800 metres.
With teammate Andreas Klöden up the road, Contador followed the move of Colom. He put in a hard acceleration with 300 metres remaining, but the Katusha rider maintained enough power to win the sprint. Rubén Plaza (Liberty Seguros) took third, six seconds behind.
Colom now leads the race overall, followed by Contador and Plaza. Tomorrow’s 33.7km time trial stage to Tavira could decide the race overall, and Contador is aware of the threat posed by his countrymen. “The crono also will be complicated, because Colom and Rubén Plaza have demonstrated that they are very strong,” he said.
1 Toni Colom (Spa) Team Katusha 4.35.42 (38,085 km/h) 2 Alberto Contador (Spa) Astana 3 Ruben Plaza (Spa) Liberty Seguros 0.06 4 Bruno Pires (Por) Barbot - Siper 0.10 5 Tiago Machado (Por) Madeinox Boavista 0.12 General classification after stage 3 1 Toni Colom (Spa) Team Katusha 14.04.09 2 Alberto Contador (Spa) Astana 0.04 3 Ruben Plaza (Spa) Liberty Seguros 0.12 4 Bruno Pires (Por) Barbot - Siper 0.20 5 Tiago Machado (Por) Madeinox Boavista 0.22