McGee says Contador has recovered from Giro and is riding well
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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

McGee says Contador has recovered from Giro and is riding well

by Conal Andrews at 8:38 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
 
Spaniard says he’s going to the Tour to ‘have fun, and with great ambition’

Alberto ContadorWith two and a half weeks to go until the start of the Tour de France, Alberto Contador will today ride the Galibier and Alpe d’Huez climbs during the Saxo Bank reconnaissance in the French Alps. He is joined there by several Saxo Bank SunGard team-mates as well as directeur sportif Bradley McGee. According to the latter, the Spaniard is in good physical and mental shape, and is no longer fatigued.

“He is very relaxed but very serious in his work. He has already recovered a lot from the Giro. For me, he is already in top condition. And certainly not in worse form that those who did the Dauphine,” the Australian told RMC.fr.

Contador is doing reconnaissance of Tour climbs during a long break from competition. Unlike his other Tour rivals, he will use neither the Dauphiné nor the Tour de Suisse as preparation. As is the case with two riders who successfully did the Giro/Tour double in the past, namely Stephen Roche and Marco Pantani, he is avoiding those races in order to ensure that he is as recovered as possible before the Tour starts.

However Contador is expected to get in two days of competition later this month, specifically the Spanish national time trial and road race championships.

During the present time, Contador is focussing on his own preparation but he will doubtlessly be following that of his main rivals. He’s clear on who the most like dangermen are. “There are more numerous opponents [this year],” he said. “I think Cadel Evans, Levi Leipheimer and Andreas Klöden….plus there are also young riders who will assert themselves, in my opinion. This will happen with Jurgen Van Den Broeck and Robert Gesink. Anyway, my real rival, this will no doubt Andy Schleck!”

Unlike the Spaniard, Schleck is yet to record a victory this season. He has been riding aggressively in the Tour de Suisse, but appears to be still short of his best form. Given that Contador has clocked up nine victories in 2011, including the Giro d’Italia, Schleck will be feeling a degree of pressure heading towards the Tour.

In contrast, Contador claims that he’s not feeling stressed. “I'm coming on the Tour to have fun. To enjoy the best race in the world. It's the most prestigious event. I come with great ambition…I will be mainly on the Tour to give myself what I love most: real competition,” he said.

One factor which may be on his mind is a recent poll conducted by the Alouette radio station. It revealed that 63 percent of French people are opposed to Contador’s participation in the Tour, with just 12 percent saying they don’t mind if he takes part.

Even so, he believes he will be treated fairly. “As usual, there will be people who have a good opinion of me and others who have a bad one. But the French public has always behaved in a very friendly way with me. I think it will continue like that again this year.”

He’ll find out if that is indeed the case from July 2nd, when the race beings at the Passage du Gois.

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