Contador gunning for Froome as Vuelta nears conclusion

Alberto Contador may trail Chris Froome by nearly four minutes but the Spaniard has not given up hope of winning the Vuelta a Espana just yet.

Contador was distanced early on as he struggled with illness and has been battling to cut Froome's advantage as the Briton remains on course to become just the third man to win the Vuelta and Tour de France in the same year.

After stage 15, Contador sits ninth in the general classification standings with a deficit of three minutes and 59 seconds but he has not given up hope of finishing his final major race on top of the podium.

It will take a huge effort and the 34-year-old believes Tuesday's individual time trial will dictate whether it is possible.

"In the end, my goals for the following days will be dictated by the race," he told a media conference on the Grand Tour's second rest day.

"There are four very demanding stages ahead, tomorrow's time trial, then the three uphill finishes, ending with the Angliru stage. The time trial is going to be very hard, and after it we'll know if my goal will be stage wins or the GC.

"It's going to be difficult to finish on the podium, but there are still major stages to come and it is still possible to see what I can do."

Froome's quest for a first Vuelta title has been ably assisted by the support of his Team Sky colleagues, however Contador has warned the upcoming mountain stages will be all about individual effort.

"The uphill finishes to come are completely different from the Sierra Nevada," he added. 

"Teamwork doesn't have the same influence as yesterday [Sunday]. Yesterday's stage was not flat but it gave the same sensations. On Los Machucos and Angliru, it's all about the form of each individual."

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