Contador ‘more rested, very, very motivated and with a team that is way stronger’
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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Contador ‘more rested, very, very motivated and with a team that is way stronger’

by VeloNation Press at 9:45 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
 
Spaniard believes he’s in a position to fight Chris Froome and others for Tour de France victory

Alberto ContadorAlthough he acknowledges that Chris Froome is the rider to beat in this year’s Tour de France, Alberto Contador has spoken optimistically about his own form, saying that he is in much better condition than when he last rode the race.

The Team Saxo Tinkoff rider had a relatively quiet Critérium du Dauphiné but has based everything around being right for the Tour de France.

He has held back at points during the year in order to ensure he didn’t eat into his reserves and with more in the tank plus a much stronger team than when he finished fifth overall in 2011 [later voided], he is upbeat about his chances.

“I do want to be one of the people who make it an interesting, spectacular race,” he told the Independent.

“Compared to the last time I did the Tour I'm starting it feeling more rested, very, very motivated, with the route checked out much more thoroughly and with a team that is way stronger.”

Because of that, he is determined to fight hard against any notion that Froome’s Sky team will dominate the Tour. “I've no intention of being a conformist in this race. Not in the slightest,” he pledged.

Contador’s team has become significantly stronger over the winter through the acquisitions of riders such as Nicolas Roche, Roman Kreuziger and Michael Rogers.

The latter has pledged his full support to Contador, saying that it would mean a lot to him if the Spaniard can take the race. He backed Bradley Wiggins to win last year and now, clad in a different team’s kit, he’s ready to do the same again.

“Personally, a victory by Alberto in the 2013 Tour de France would be a huge thrill and feeling of achievement,” Rogers said. “When you see how much passion and belief Alberto has day in and day out in what he is doing, it's impossible to not feel emotional. Like all great leaders he brings the best out of his team and I can't wait to get things going.”

Kreuziger echoes these sentiments. “Every Tour de France is different and every time, I'm really excited to take part in the race. However, this year is a little bit different for me,” he explained. “In my opinion, we have the best Grand Tour rider in the world and I'm so ready to support Alberto.

“My most important support will be executed in the mountains but I assume I can do some good in the team time trial as well.”

For the Czech rider, team unity is crucial and he believes that the whole squad will pull together to do everything it can to take the final yellow jersey to Paris. “The objective is perfectly clear. We want win the Tour with Alberto…that´s the goal for our team,” he said.

“We have three long and very hard weeks ahead of us. My own personal ambition is no other than the team's ambition. Every one of us in the team are motived and focused to give our very best in the 100th Tour de France.”

Contador won the Tour in 2007 and 2009, missing the race in 2008 when his Astana team were not invited. He was first in the general classification in 2010 but later lost that victory after he tested positive for Clenbuterol. If he prevails this year it will be his third overall win in the race and would be a big moment for him.

He’s been solid rather than spectacular this year, notching up just one win on stage six of the Tour de San Luis. Second overall in the Tour of Oman, third in Tirreno-Adriatico and the Klasika Primavera and fourth in San Luis, he has been overshadowed by Chris Froome, who has clocked up several wins.

Contador believes that he can step up a level for the Tour, but also acknowledges that Froome is the biggest favourite. “He is most dangerous contender for the 2013 Tour. He's going to be the one to beat,” he said.

“He's had an incredible season, he's won nearly every race he's taken part in and he's got an amazingly strong team.”

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