US Pro Cycling Challenge organisers optimistic Contador will ride
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Thursday, June 16, 2011

US Pro Cycling Challenge organisers optimistic Contador will ride

by Shane Stokes at 7:18 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Saxo Bank SunGard joins previously-announced UCI ProTeams in Colorado event

Alberto ContadorAlthough the rider has already done the Giro d’Italia and is about to tackle the Tour de France, the organisers of the US Pro Cycling Challenge in Colorado are pushing hard to try to get Alberto Contador to ride their race, and believe there is a good chance he will be there.

His Saxo Bank SunGard team has just been confirmed as taking part in the new event. At the same time, Vuelta a Espana race organisers have admitted it will be difficult to see the rider compete in their Grand Tour this year.

According to race co-chairman Shawn Hunter, the Saxo Bank SunGard team will confirm the lineup at a later date, but he said that he is optimistic about the possibility that Contador will ride.

“I think it's a strong chance,” Hunter said, according to the Denver Post. “I can't be sure because riders don't have to commit until 45 days out. Hopefully he'll be part of the roster.

“He's probably the hottest athlete in the sport right now. He's a big personality and will add a lot of marketability. He'll add a lot of sizzle to the race.”

The new race takes place between August 23rd and 28th. The date gives him a month to recover from the Tour de France, but overlaps with the Vuelta a España and will also come after the CAS hearing relating to his positive test for Clenbuterol.

One factor which could work in the US race’s favour is that Contador is personally sponsored by the American frame manufacturer Specialized. It would clearly like him to take part, and the race would also be important for his team’s co-sponsor SunGard, a Pennsylvania-based company.

As regards the Vuelta clash, he has stated that one of his career goals is to try to win all three Grand Tours in the same season. However the Vuelta race director Javier Guillen conceded this week that it may not happen this year.

"I see it as very difficult that Contador does the Vuelta, but it is something that he has to decide,” he said at this week’s presentation of the new race trophy, according to EFE. “Logic states that after a Giro and Tour, it is very complicated to do the Vuelta. However, if anyone can do the big three, it is Alberto Contador.”

The Spaniard is attempting to become the first rider to take the Giro/Tour double since Marco Pantani in 1998.

The US Pro Cycling Challenge will take place over some of the toughest roads in Colorado. “Altitude will be a unique challenge for all of the riders, but I am confident that our team will rise to the occasion,” said Saxo Bank SunGard owner Bjarne Riis, confirming his team will take part.

Previously announced squads include USA-registered Garmin-Cervélo, HTC Highroad, BMC Racing Team and Team RadioShack, fellow ProTeams Liquigas Cannondale and Leopard Trek, as well as UnitedHealtcare Pro Cycling, Team Type 1 – sanofi aventis, Skil Shimano and Team Spidertech-C10.


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