Contador upbeat heading into 2013: “It should be the perfect preparation for winning”
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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Contador upbeat heading into 2013: “It should be the perfect preparation for winning”

by VeloNation Press at 10:27 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
 
Rider pleased about Saxo Tinkoff lineup and WorldTour licence

Alberto ContadorSecure in the fact that Team Saxo Tinkoff has a WorldTour licence and believing that the team will be stronger than ever in 2013, Alberto Contador believes that he has on paper the best possible circumstances for another win in the Tour de France.

“It gives you peace of mind,” he said of the UCI ProTeam licence awarded last week, which in turn means the team will have guaranteed entry into the top races in the sport. “It means that when you make a schedule, you know that you will be in the big races. It also provides peace of mind for the sponsors, and everything is much easier.”

Team Saxo Tinkoff was for several months unsure about whether or not it would get the top-ranked licence. The reason for the uncertainty was because under UCI rules relating to a positive test, Contador’s points were not able to be counted when the WorldTour-applicant teams were being assessed.

This meant that the team was ranked only twentieth in the UCI’s hierarchy, putting it in a fight-off with five others for licences.

It was finally confirmed as being successful in that application, thus ensuring it would be able to ride all of the WorldTour races in 2013.

The news was a huge relief for Contador, not least because it increases his chances of taking another yellow jersey to Paris.

“What I have always said is that from a sporting level, it takes a lot of time to prepare for the Tour,” the Spaniard explained to Cope.es. “My work from now is the base for next year’s Tour. It should be the perfect preparation for winning.”

Contador took the 2007, 2009 and 2010 editions of the race, but then lost the latter due to a positive test for Clenbuterol. He fought the latter charge for over a year and rode the 2011 race with a tough Giro in his legs and under the mental pressure that his case brought him.

Finishing only fifth in that race, he then lost out on competing in this year’s Tour because of his suspension. The 2013 edition will be the first time in three years that his buildup will be anything like normal, and he hopes that he will be able to pick up another overall triumph.

Team Saxo Bank received a boost in 2012 when Oleg Tinkoff came on board as a second title sponsor. It increased the amount of money Bjarne Riis had at his disposal and ensured he was able to sign up proven riders such as Nicolas Roche, Roman Kreuziger, Michael Rogers, Matti Breschel and Daniele Bennati.

They were important in ensuring the team had enough points to be in the top twenty in the UCI’s list, but will also be vital in backing Contador in the top races next year.

He’s psyched by the thoughts of that lineup, not least because Bjarne Riis’ team has been a little light on big names in the past two years.

“Thinking about the Tour, I will have a superb team,” he said. “And the atmosphere has been unbeatable. We've had a training camp in the Canaries and it has been an awesome experience.”

Details of Contador’s early season programme are yet to be released, but he is likely to race early and often in order to make up for a lack of kilometres in 2012. Like his injured rival Andy Schleck, he clocked up far fewer races than others such as Bradley Wiggins, although his Vuelta a España victory showed that he could still win despite that.

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