Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff) may have another crack at a Giro d’Italia and Tour de France bid in 2013. Speaking ahead of the Tour de San Luis, the 2012 Vuelta a España winner told the press that the option of competing for wins at both races was appealing but that his final decision on a race programme has yet to be made.
Asked he would aim to win two grand tours this year, he said: “It could be the Giro and the Tour. That’s the most possible option because the Giro isn’t as difficult as it has been for the last few years. It’s possible to do the Giro and then go the Tour and try and win both.”
After the press conference, Contador’s press officer was keen to stress that no definitive plans have been made with regards to a race programme but the Italian press contingent were already licking their lips with the prospect of seeing the 2008 winner duel with Bradley Wiggins ahead of the Tour de France.
Contador attempted the Giro and Tour double in 2011. He wiped the floor with the opposition in Italy [though later CAS stripped him of the title] at times toying with the peloton, but he came unstuck at the Tour, succumbing to fatigue, injury and fresher riders’ legs.
Whatever race programme Contador does plump for, the Tour de France will remain the priority, although he was keen to stress that soft-pedalling around the Giro in preparation for the Tour was never going to be an option.
Unlike last year, Contador has his destiny in his own hands and he looked a more relaxed rider as he held court with the press. Last year CAS was yet to rule on his doping case and his participation in San Luis was overshadowed by the looming case.
“My condition isn’t great yet,” he said when asked about his form ahead of Argentina’s premier stage race.
“Things are different to last year, because I’ve started my preparation later this year because I have a different programme and goals for the season. I’ve started my training in a slower fashion this time around.”
Last year an out of shape Contador still managed two stage wins and second overall but he was quick to play down his chances ahead of this week’s race, pointing to an improved calibre of opposition.
“There are riders here stronger than I am. I came here a week earlier to train and to get over the jetlag but there are other riders who have better form than me at the moment.”
“If there’s an opportunity I’ll try and take it but there are riders from Argentina, for whom this is the biggest race of year, who have prepared better than me. For me Nibali, Rodriguez and Van den Broeck will go well and with the time trial in the race, Tejay van Garderen will be very strong.”
While Contador’s grand tour ambitions have yet to be confirmed, though he did disclose that his early season programme will consist of the Tour of Oman, Tirreno-Adriatico, Critérium International and the Tour of the Basque Country.