Contador comments on his season and Schleck's ejection
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Thursday, September 9, 2010

Contador comments on his season and Schleck's ejection

by Samuel Morrison at 8:56 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France, Vuelta a España
Tour de France winner Alberto Contador visited the Vuelta a España to offer his opinion

Tour de France winner Alberto Contador visited the Vuelta a España yesterday in Andorra, to offer his opinion about the race favourites, Andy Schleck and his racing schedule.

As Spain's Igor Antón rode towards a stage win and the race lead, Contador arrived – taking a break between visiting bicycle trade shows – at the studio of Spanish broadcaster Teledeporte.

"I put my trust in [Vincenzo] Nibali, as he demonstrated well with a third place at the Giro d'Italia his seventh place at last year's Tour de France," Contador said. "He has developed a lot and is a reliable cyclist. But one should not count out [two-time winner Denis] Menchov, who is a quality cyclist."

Yesterday's mountaintop finish in the Principality of Andorra concluded the 11th stage. The three-week race, the last of the season, ends next Sunday in Madrid.

Contador began his season seven months ago, in February. At his first race, the Volta ao Algarve in Portugal, he won a stage and overall classification. He also won a stage and overall at the Paris-Nice, a stage and overall at the Vuelta a Castilla y León, two stages at the Critérium du Dauphiné and the overall at the Tour de France.

Since he took his third Tour de France crown on the Champs-Élysées in Paris, though, he as stopped racing.

"It's true that I raced the Tour and disappeared, but I debuted in February in the Algarve and won. Then I went to Paris-Nice in March and Castilla y Leon in April and won. The Dauphiné in June, won two stages and finished second in general. And then my third win at the Tour. I am not like other riders who stay in the group to train: when I race, I fight for the win. I have only 55 days of racing, but I fully concentrate on getting results and this requires a great effort every day."

Next year, Contador plans on racing two Grand Tours: the Tour de France and the Vuelta a España, which he won in 2008 along with the Giro d'Italia. Based on racing the Tour and Vuelta, he will plan his schedule accordingly.

"Probably I'll change my schedule. The Giro d'Italia? I am not ruling it out."

Besides a change in schedule, he will change teams. He leaves Astana after three seasons at the end of the year to join Bjarne Riis' Saxo Bank.

Tuesday, Riis sent home Stuart O'Grady and Andy Schleck, for staying out drinking the night before the 10th stage. Schleck was the only rider to challenge Contador for the Tour de France title in July, finishing second, and will make space for Contador when he joins a new Luxembourg-based team for next year.

Contador had a hard time believing his Tour de France rival was out drinking during the race.

"If Andy came to the Vuelta to help his brother Fränk, this was not the best way to do it," said Contador. "When you're in a race, whatever race, you have to stay focused on that. Riis is not afraid to call the shots as a director. I would imagine it was not easy to make such an important decision, but his choice is logical."

Schleck announced yesterday that his next and last races this season will be a serious of one-day Italian races, ending with the Giro di Lombardia on October 16. Contador travels to Las Vegas next for another bike show, Interbike.


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