Contador retains Vuelta optimism

Updated: 

Alberto Contador is confident he can claw back his Vuelta a Espana deficit despite sitting nearly two minutes adrift after four stages.

The Tinkoff rider has been fighting an uphill battle in the opening days of the Grand Tour after losing vital time in the team time trial on Saturday.

Contador lost 52 seconds to Team Sky rival Chris Froome on stage one and three days later he is another minute adrift of general classification leader Darwin Atapuma (BMC Racing).

Froome, Nairo Quintana and Alejandro Valverde are within 40 seconds of Atapuma, meaning Contador must find at least a minute on his GC rivals if he is to be in with a chance of winning on September 11.

But the three-time overall champion is confident he can do just that, despite a less-than perfect preparation for the race.

"Although I felt my form well I wouldn't say it was perfect," he told Tinkoff's official website after stage four.

"However, it is important to recover and keep putting efforts in. The next important day is stage eight with its very demanding finish. 

"Our bodies will be more into race mode and we will see then how my legs respond. 

"I came to the Vuelta without an optimal preparation because I didn't have enough time, but I feel confident that in the coming days I will be able to give more."