Tour De France 2013: Stage 13 Performances Give Contador Legitimate Shot to Win

Jeremy Fuchs@@jaf78Correspondent IIIJuly 12, 2013

MONT-SAINT-MICHEL, FRANCE - JULY 10: Alberto Contador of Spain and Team-SaxoTinkoff rides during stage eleven of the 2013 Tour de France, a 33KM Individual Time Trial from Avranches to Mont-Saint-Michel, on July 10, 2013 in Mont-Saint-Michel, France.  (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

Mark Cavendish won stage 13, but the performance by Alberto Contador shows that he has a legitimate shot to win the Tour de France 2013.

With nearly 30 kilometers to go, Contador made a big push to pull away from the peloton and get towards the front. Cavendish held on and Contador ended up finishing seventh.

But, as the Guardian Sport Twitter feed noted, the performance by Contador took a big chunk out of Christopher Froome's lead:

Froome ended up in 26th place. After stage 13, here's how the overall standings play out: 

1.Christopher FroomeSKY PRO CYCLING51h 00' 30'' 
2.Bauke Mollema
BELKIN PRO CYCLING51h 02' 58''+ 02' 28''
3.Alberto ContadorTEAM SAXO-TINKOFF51h 03' 15''+ 02' 45''
4.Roman KreuzigerTEAM SAXO-TINKOFF51h 03' 18''+ 02' 48''
5.Laurens ten DamBELKIN PRO CYCLING51h 03' 31''+ 03' 01''
6.Jakob FuglsangASTANA PRO TEAM51h 05' 09''+ 04' 39''
7.Michal KwiatkowskiOMEGA PHARMA-QUICK STEP51h 05' 14''+ 04' 44''
8. Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas
MOVISTAR TEAM51h 05' 48''+ 05' 18''
9.Jean-Christophe PeraudAG2R LA MONDIALE51h 06' 09''+ 05' 39''
10.Joaquim RodriguezKATUSHA TEAM51h 06' 18''+ 05'

**Full classifications and results can be found at**

Although he didn't win at stage 13, Contador took time off the lead and showed the form that made him the winner in 2007 and 2009.

Now the rest of the race is set up for him to win. Contador is one of the best climbers in the world, and every stage, except for stage 21, has some sort of climb in it.

He should be at the top of each remaining stage, especially stage 17, which is a 32-kilometer time trial from Embrun to Chorges on July 17, but features two climbs. That's a stage that Contador could easily win.

Contador still has to overtake Froome, which is easier said than done. However, Froome's Sky team has struggled. Take stage 9 for example. It was pretty disastrous, as Peter Kennaugh crashed, Richie Porte finished a whopping 17 minutes behind the field and Vasil Kiryienka was eliminated.

It would be asking too much for Froome to do it all on his own. If his teammates can't lift him up, then it would not be surprising to see Contador make a big leap into the lead.

If anything, Contador is trending upwards while Froome is trending downward. Froome is playing it safe, doing his best not to lose his lead, which is understandable. But Contador has nothing to lose. He can go all out and hope that it works for him.

This dynamic was summed up nicely in the Guardian's live blog by Paul Doyle:

Contador and his Saxo-Tinkoff team have been trundling along in the peloton since the start and now suddenly spring a surprise attack: they shoot out of the leading group to make a break. Cavendish, Mollema and Sagan manage to go with them but Froome is struggling. With Sky depleted, could this breakaway pay off?

Froome couldn't keep up with top riders in this stage. Playing it safe could end up coming back to bite him. Instead of going all out to increase his lead, he's letting others get back into contention, putting more pressure on him in the later stages.

Contador has to build upon this impressive stage. One good stage will not be enough to secure the yellow jersey. But it's a starting point. Given the fact that the rest of the race suits his riding style, there's no reason why Contador couldn't come from behind and win it all.