No Vuelta a España title defence for Contador
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Saturday, July 20, 2013

No Vuelta a España title defence for Contador

by Shane Stokes at 8:08 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France, Vuelta a España
Spaniard says he considered attacking yesterday, but ultimately decided not to do so

Alberto ContadorAlthough he looks now almost certain not to win this year’s Tour de France, thoughts that Alberto Contador might seek to bounce back by taking the Vuelta a España have been dismissed by the Spaniard today.

Contador, who won the Tour in 2007 and 2009 and took the Vuelta in 2008 and again last year, has ruled out competing in the Spanish event.

He told Sporza that he would not defend his title, and that he was fatigued after the Tour.

He has separately indicated that he wants to focus on the 2014 Tour de France and ensuring that he is at a higher level than this year.

Giro d’Italia winner Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) has confirmed that he will try to win his second Vuelta, while Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) and Ivan Basso (Cannondale) are expected to take part. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) has also said that he will ride.

Meanwhile Contador has said that his tactics on today’s final mountain stage will depend on his condition. “I felt good at the finish,” he said after the end of yesterday’s stage. “All will depend on how the legs are.”

His Saxo Tinkoff team rode very hard in the second half of yesterday’s stage, with riders such as Nicolas Roche dragging the bunch along. It appeared that they were setting things up for an attack by Contador on the final climb, particularly as time is running out for him to try to make inroads into Chris Froome’s lead.

However ultimately nothing happened, with Contador staying put in the bunch.

“My team was doing a great job, controlling things for the team classification and if I attacked that could have caused Roman Kreuziger to have been pushed back,” he said afterwards, rationalising the lack of fireworks.

“There was a moment when I thought about attacking, because the rain is good for me, but we decided the best thing was to stay together,” said Contador.

However others may question his ability to make a difference, with the Spaniard looking below par at times in the race. He was dropped on the climb of Alpe d’Huez, conceding additional time to Froome.

He gave an additional, and quite curious reason for not being aggressive on the downhill. “I didn’t want to attack because, watching on TV, there are people who love me and get nervous when I attack on a descent," he said, although it was delivered with a smile.


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