The stunning performance by Omega Pharma-Quickstep means Rigoberto Uran and Michal Kwiatkowski have already put time into their GC rivals. Nairo Quintana (Movistar) sits 18 seconds back, while Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) is six seconds further off the lead. Contador, third in last year’s race and the best placed rider from last year to be racing this time out, is among the favourites to take the overall prize as he bids to build form ahead of the Tour de France.
But El Pistolero need not worry – or not according to team owner Oleg Tinkov anyway. The Russian financier took to Twitter post-race to offer his post-stage thoughts and though he was disappointed his team could only finish fourth he is optimistic for Contador’s chances after the shift he pulled on the front.
— Oleg Tinkov (@olegtinkov) March 13, 2014
Tinkov has not always been so complimentary towards his lead rider, and Contador admitted at a press conference in London last December that eyebrows may have been raised at their continued working relationship following the Russian financier’s purchase of the team. Oleg’s transformation from outspoken critic to cheerleader will doubtless accelerate the thaw in relations.