Contador doesn’t rule out riding Giro d’Italia this season
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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Contador doesn’t rule out riding Giro d’Italia this season

by Shane Stokes at 4:17 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Spaniard ready to begin racing in Tour de San Luis, but plays down chances

Alberto ContadorAlthough he’s determined to try to win another Tour de France this year, and while he was unable to do the Giro-Tour double in 2011, Alberto Contador has revealed that there is a possibility that he could return to the Italian race again this season.

The Team Saxo Tinkoff rider has outlined his initial racing programme, with a busy competitive sequence getting under way on Sunday in the Tour de San Luis.

“Looking at my calendar, I will focus on the Tour de France,” said the Spaniard. “After here [Argentina] I will ride the Tour of Oman, a race that I don’t know, and will continue with Tirreno. I don’t know that either, but I’m excited to go because until now I always had raced Paris-Nice.

“Then I’ll go to the Criterium International, another race with a great reputation and where I've never been in a good condition. Finally, I will ride Basque Country and then the team will analyse the possibility of riding some Classics or going to the Giro…we'll see.”

Contador dominated the 2011 Giro, beating Michele Scarponi (Lampre ISD) by over six minutes. He ultimately lost that title due to his positive test the previous year for Clenbuterol, but the relevant point is that he was unable to replicate that dominance in the Tour de France.

He had to be satisfied with fifth place there, underlining the difficulty of pulling off the Giro/Tour double. Still, he appears at least open to the possibility of riding both races in the same season again.

Right now, though, his attention is focussed on the Tour de San Luis. He arrived in Argentina earlier this week and has been able to get in several training rides thus far. He’s content with his form but regards the race more as part of his buildup for later events rather than a prime goal in itself.

“I am happy with the preparation. I'm giving priority to having more base, in order to be more fresh for the main objectives of the season,” he said. “The training data is good and what I intend now is to hone my weight gradually.”

Last year he also rode the race, picking up a stage and finishing second overall. As was the case with the 2011 Giro, those results were also lost when CAS ruled on his Clenbuterol case, but it showed he was in good shape. This time round he’s playing down his chances, although he often does that anyway.

“My expectations are different from last year because the idea is to fine tune and adjust my weight, since I'm a few kilos over,” he said. “But that’s a normal thing right now. It's true that I like to go for it if I have possibilities, I can hardly stop myself if I have good legs. But I'm over my weight and there’s mathematics [power to weight]. There are riders who are better than me to fight for victory.”

However he doesn’t rule out someone from Team Saxo Tinkoff riding well. “The team is in a superb form. The riders are excited about the 2013 season and me even more than my teammates,” he said, showing his enthusiasm to have a big year. “We will all have opportunities, the team is stronger and I think it has made things very good.

“Here, for instance, we bring a complete team, with four riders that go very well in the mid-mountains and on the flat and then we have Jesus Hernandez, who is strong enough uphill. We are a very balanced team.”

Asked what he thinks will be the most important aspect, he nominates the time trial as he believes the climbs are not very long. Last time Levi Leipheimer won but with the American missing out due to his current suspension, there will be a new name on the trophy this time round.

As for who that will be, he’s not sure. “It's hard to say. There is an impressive roster of riders, I could not say exactly,” he explained. “Nibali proved to be strong in 2012, and Dani Moreno and Purito also will be there.

“There are many riders, as [Jurgen] Van den Broeck or [Tejay] van Garderen, plus local riders who prepare at hundred percent for this race and are really strong in the mountains.”
 

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