Contador takes time out of Evans & Schleck. One second.

Yellow jersey group, 1k from summit of Sestriere.

Trailing his chief rival in the Tour de France by roughly two minutes, Alberto Contador and his countrymen Samuel Sanchez launched a vicious attack on the descent into Pinerolo, Italy.

They pulled back one second. Yee-haw.

You work all day in the first Alps stage, you punch up the short but difficult Cote de Sainte Marguerite, keep the pace high on the Col de Montgenevre, then ramp it further on the category tres painful Col de Sestriere.

So far, so not good. Haven’t picked up one second on Evans or the Brothers Schleck or Ivan Basso. They didn’t even fall for you siggestion they stop to check out the skiis on the sale racks outside near the summit.

You’re down to plan D or E so you hit the last Col de Pramartino hard and hope something good happens. Maybe Saxo team manager Bjarne Riis has a trick up his sleeve for you, who knows.

Only nothing works and you haven’t dropped anyone major. Even boy band Leopard Linus Gerdemann is still in the group looking relaxed. Even that French guy Jean-Christophe Peraud of AG2R is still hanging around.

Should have never ridden that damn Giro. You’re back in Italy alright but without the climbing legs.

You’re the famed Alberto Contador and you need time back today and you’re out of mountain climbs. So, call it daring or a little desperate, but you turn a pedal in anger one more time, downhill, fast.

Now you’ve got fellow Spaniard and pal Samuel Sanchez and he also knows how to rip down a mountain. You work well together, no need to pull over and translate instructions into another language.

Bravo boys, chapeau with some tapas on top. You got yourself one second.

Think of it like a weird kind of psychological blow, make Evans and the Brothers Schleck second guess — just what is Contador doing with that one second?

Who knows — that one second may prove valuable by the time the race reaches Paris and the top three steps of the podium are decided.

All we know is, at this rate, gaining a second for each stage in the Alps, will net Contador three seconds.

Twisted Spoke steps out on a brittle tree limb and states that three seconds will not will the Tour de France.

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  • Lyndon

    Insightful.

    May I suggest you grab an exclusive and interview the owner of that driveway on the hairpin. Phil and Paul were joking that it was just as well the gate was open. I suspect that a cyclist crashed through and ripped the gate off it's hinges long ago!

  • beth

    Speaking of new pal Sanchez, they really have been quite pally lately. What's up with that? I know there was some notorious edition of the Vuelta where all the spanish riders teamed up together to make sure a foreigner didn't win. Can't remember the specifics. And now Lionel Marie went on record as saying the French teams "have an agreement", by way of explaining why Moncoutie wouldn't trade pulls with Hushovd the other day. So is this uber-nationalism common, not to say rampant? Transcending team boundaries, this is business as usual? Just asking.

    • http://www.atwistedspoke.com TwistedSpoke

      Beth, baby, nationalism always plays a role in the Tour de France. It's just one of a hundred things that make the race so rich and complex. I love that kind of thing. Enjoy the diabolical undertones. Matt

  • Higgins

    This is a very common thing in european cycling where the national loyalties are very strong – hence Moncouties reluctance to give any assistance at all to Hushovd when he won the Lourdes stage 13 against Jeremy Roy. Usually riders have strong personal and national ties over and above team colours, hence Contador watching on as Euskatel riders took stages in the Giro..a favor earned…

    • http://www.atwistedspoke.com TwistedSpoke

      Higgins, that's very true and I kinda like that — it adds another level of richness, intrigue and complexity to the races. Matt