Contador bemoans breathing woes in mountains

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LA PIERRE-SAINT-MARTIN, France — Two-time Tour de France champion Alberto Contador says current leader Chris Froome is simply “at a higher level” than the rest of the pack right now.

“Froome is superior, and he made a strong punch today,” said Contador after he lost 2 minutes, 51 seconds to the Kenya-born Briton, who won Tuesday’s 10th stage. Overall, he trails 4:04 back in sixth place. “That’s bike racing: Some days good, some days bad,” Contador added.

The Spaniard’s bad day was partly due to breathing troubles on the 167-kilometer (104-mile) course from Tarbes to the mountain resort of La Pierre-Saint-Martin.

“When you can’t breathe well, you can’t keep up a high rhythm in the legs,” grumbled the Tinkoff Saxo Bank leader outside his team bus.