Contador makes changes to schedule in aim to win 2014 Tour de France
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Friday, November 22, 2013

Contador makes changes to schedule in aim to win 2014 Tour de France

by VeloNation Press at 1:37 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
 
Bigger training foundation and later start to racing key points in Spaniard’s bid to take third title

Alberto ContadorHaving failed to hit his usual peak this season and thus falling short in his key goal, the Tour de France, Alberto Contador has come up with what he believes is an important change to strategy for 2014.

Last month the Spaniard identified where he felt he went wrong, and this has influenced in his planning for next year.

“It has been an accumulation of different factors. The programme wasn’t the best one,” Contador said in October, speaking at a press conference in Madrid which confirmed that Saxo Bank would step up its financial input in 2014, or until a secondary sponsor was found.

“I started racing in January without all the training I needed. When you do that, you can get to a good level, but you don’t get to the level that you can win all the races.

“We will wait and see what happens in 2014. I will say I have extra motivation to try to achieve the objectives that I want.”

Now, speaking to ESPN Deportes this week, he said that he had made two fundamental changes. He said that he would “start training earlier and compete a little bit later.” In other words, ensure that his foundation is much bigger than it was this year.

He and his team will miss the Tour de San Luis in Argentina in January, the race he began in last season.

“There will be two major changes from the last two years in particular,” he explained, talking about the modified approach. “I'm going to start training before, I've already started, and to compete a little after the second or third week of February, whereas the last two years had begun in January at the Tour de San Luis.

“This year we 'll delay things until February in order to have a good base and to build slowly to reach the big goal, which is the Tour de France.”

However he makes clear that he is not staking everything on that one race. Even though he’ll build towards his top peak in July, he wants to be good at other points.

“The goal is the Tour but it is not only the Tour…it is the whole season. I want to do a full season from the first race of the year,” he stated. Although his programme is yet to be finalised, he mentioned Paris-Nice, Tirreno-Adriatico, the Volta a Catalunya and the Vuelta al Pais Vasco as events he is considering in the buildup to the Tour.

The overlap between Paris-Nice and Tirreno Adriatico means he will pick one of those, then plan further afterwards.

Contador has been working on making improvements and to that end, went to Specialized’s California headquarters last week for wind tunnel testing. His position was tweaked and new equipment was tried out.

“It is about trying to optimize everything and get the maximum performance from all, both in time trials and in the mountains,” he said.

Contador is a better natural climber than a time trialist, and so he’s particularly looking for improvements in the latter area.

“Aerodynamics has a great influence,” he said, pointing out that important seconds can be gained in this area.

“It's a constant evolution. To win three week races it is necessary to perform well in the time trial. It is true that today there are more specialists than me, and I have to try my utmost to defend in order to make the best difference amongst the climbers.”

Contador won the 2007 and 2009 Tours. He was first in Paris in 2010 but was subsequently disqualified after testing positive for Clenbuterol. He won the 2012 Vuelta a España. His aim to win this year’s Tour fell short and he was fourth in Paris, six minutes and 27 seconds behind Chris Froome.

That margin shows he has a considerable improvement to make in 2014; he hopes that a revised schedule and better foundation will help to close the gap.

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