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 Froome||SKY PRO CYCLING||51h 00' 30''|
|2.||Bauke Mollema||BELKIN PRO CYCLING||51h 02' 58''||+ 02' 28''|
|3.||Alberto Contador||TEAM SAXO-TINKOFF||51h 03' 15''||+ 02' 45''|
|4.||Roman Kreuziger||TEAM SAXO-TINKOFF||51h 03' 18''||+ 02' 48''|
|5.||Laurens ten Dam||BELKIN PRO CYCLING||51h 03' 31''||+ 03' 01''|
|6.||Jakob Fuglsang||ASTANA PRO TEAM||51h 05' 09''||+ 04' 39''|
|7.||Michal Kwiatkowski||OMEGA PHARMA-QUICK STEP||51h 05' 14''||+ 04' 44''|
|8.|| Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas||MOVISTAR TEAM||51h 05' 48''||+ 05' 18''|
|9.||Jean-Christophe Peraud||AG2R LA MONDIALE||51h 06' 09''||+ 05' 39''|
|10.||Joaquim Rodriguez||KATUSHA TEAM||51h 06' 18''||+ 05'|
**Full classifications and results can be found at LeTour.com.**
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.