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Contador confident about taking on Froome at the Tour de France

By:
Stephen Farrand
Published:
January 14, 19:40,
Updated:
January 14, 19:41
Edition:
First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Alberto Contador meets the locals

Alberto Contador meets the locals

  • Alberto Contador meets the locals
  • The dolphins wanted in on the event as well
  • Alberto Contador speaks to the press
  • The Tinkoff-Saxo meeting took place at the Palmitos Park Delfinarium in Gran Canaria

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Tinkoff-Saxo leader backs Riis, Rogers and Tinkov

Alberto Contador and his Tinkoff-Saxo team are convinced they can take on Chris Froome at this year's Tour de France after learning from the mistakes of 2013. Contador struggled in July and finished a distant fourth overall off the Champs Elysees podium.

Contador will be the absolute team leader at the new look Tinkoff-Saxo team, now owned by Russian business mogul Oleg Tinkov, with Bjarne Riis focusing on the technical and performance aspects of the team.

Contador appeared as jovial and relaxed as ever at the Tinkoff-Saxo training camp in Gran Canaria, be it when leading the training ride, talking about his hopes for the season, defending Riis and Michael Rogers and dismissing suggestions he does not get on with Tinkov.

"We've got a new jersey, a new owner but at the end of the day, nothing's really changed. On the contrary, I think there's more stability in the team. We're focused and ready to have a good season," he told Cyclingnews.

"I know that people were talking about my body language at the press conference to announce that Tinkov had bought the team but at the moment my relationship with him is perfect. We're working in the same direction and things are good."

"Oleg buying the team is great news and good for everyone. The financial stability of the team is very important in this difficult moment for cycling, where backers are scarce. It will help the motivation and unity in the team and so help me perform even better. We know the sponsor is backing us and believes in us."

Turning consistency into victories

Contador was consistent in 2013 but only won one race: a stage at the Tour de San Luis. He knows that's not enough for a rider of his calibre and palmares.

"I think I was consistent in 2013, I was often in the top five in races that mattered but that's not good enough for Alberto Contador. Everyone expects me to win. I know this and understand it," he conceded.

"That's why I'm working hard this winter. Last winter wasn't so good and I think racing so early at the Tour de San Luis affected things. This year I'm going to take things more tranquillo and program well my season. I'll have a complete season, starting off quite intensely with some good races in the spring, then I'll back off and recover before riding the Dauphine so that I can start the Tour de France in the best possible condition."

Contador confirmed he will begin his season at the Volta ao Algarve in early February and then target Tirreno-Adriatico and the Tour of the Basque Country before focusing on preparing for the Tour de France and then the Vuelta a Espana.

"I'll be targeting the Tour de France and the Vuelta and that won't be easy, in fact the Vuelta will be a bit of an incognito. But I think I can be at a good level," he said, edging his bets.

"We've decided to go for Tirreno-Adriatico because the Paris-Nice course doesn't seem logical for me. Tirreno is hard and complete with a team time trial, a individual time trial and a mountain finish. That's better for me. After Tirreno I'll do Catalunya and the Volta Pais Vasco. Then I'll focus on the Tour."

Support for Riis and Rogers

Contador believes he will benefit from better support from Bjarne Riis in 2014 after the Dane sold the team to Tinkov and accepted the role of team manager.

Riis was in Gran Canaria carefully scrutinizing his riders and talking to Contador. He faces scrutiny of his own in Denmark due to the on-going investigation into allegations of doping in his teams. However, Contador offered him unequivocal support.

"With the arrival of Oleg, Bjarne no longer has to worry about finding sponsors for the future and so is more relaxed and can focus better on working with us all. That includes me because we live near each other in Lugano. That's important for me to have a good season," Contador told Cyclingnews.

"I don’t have all the information to understand what's happening in Denmark. I can only say that Bjarne has never talked about doping with me from the moment we first met. He's always been against it. I think he's got more moral values than all the team directeurs I've ever worked with in my career. He's the best team manager I could have."

Contador was equally supportive of teammate Michele Rogers, who failed a doping test for Clenbuterol at the tour of Beijing in October. Contador also tested positive for the banned steroid at the 2010 Tour de France. He always said his positive was caused by contaminated food and believes that Rogers' positive was caused by the same reason.

"For me there's nothing strange about his case. In fact it's very simple," Contador told Cyclingnews.

"After my experience with the same Clenbuterol problem it's simple: I've got 100 per cent trust in Michael and I expect everything will turn out right. I'm sure it's a case of food contamination, not a doping case. I hope everything will be cleared up because as well as being a good friend, Michael is a great rider that is fundamental for the team."

SourKraut 8 months ago
Berto. You learned nothing from your experience, did you? Neither did Rogers, evidently. If (IF) Rogers did not intentionally dope, why would he be so foolish as to eat meat in China when it was no secret that clenbuterol could very easily get into his system? It is his responsibility to monitor this.
chiocciolis_calves 8 months ago
Doggone it! I think you caught him! Mick really did dope, Inspector!!! This probably goes without saying, but we've got some very sharp people posting here. Very sharp.
SourKraut 8 months ago
Right. He doped. Dope was in his system. He tested positive for it. We agree. Both of us, sharp knives in the drawer. I'm curious, oh lover of a man's calves, why do you suppose Berto shows such empathy?
Cance > TheRest 8 months ago
I think SourKrauts name is fitting. It's only appropriate for AC to show that he's a good colleague and support Rogers in this case, considering that he was unlucky victim of Clenbuterol in his past.
SourKraut 8 months ago
Cance....I've got a couple bridges to sell you. Contact me offline.
JantonStentenan 8 months ago
And I've got a couple of 53 tooth chainrings to sell you Sourapplecandycane. Oh, what's that? You can't handle a chainring that big. I'm so sorry. Fortunately guys like Contador and me have never had that problem.
dsotherby 8 months ago
Janton! I miss you and your posts. It's been a while since I've heard you speak about your awesomeness.
Strydz 8 months ago
@ dsotherby I was thinking the same thing, we are blessed to have Janton tell us just how awesome he is again.
TheFred 8 months ago
Every post of Janton's, and I mean every, is rife with innuendo and double entendre. I think Janton has desires for men.
Farcanal 8 months ago
Counting in the clenbuterol accusers, tormentors and trolls; 3, 2, 1 go......
patrick24 8 months ago
cue the apologists, 3, 2, 1, go
nepetalactone 8 months ago
Clue in the I don't know what the @#%& is going on so I may as well keep my mouth shut, not make any assumptions, and see what happens; 3, 2, 1, go.....
cantpedal 8 months ago
no need for this one. It's obvious from the posters own statements here that they have all the facts and can't be controverted.
TheFred 8 months ago
For many of us, we have all the information needed because the governing bodies have all the info they need: a rider has tested positive for a prohibited substance. At that moment, the rider is guilty and may fight it, but no further proof or information is needed; he is proven guilty. The never ending childlike excuses fall on deaf ears. NB add to the list of highly chronicled excuses the most recent creativity by 62 yo Dave LeDupe of the USA: "yes, I took steroids, EPO, and amphetamines, but it actually slowed me down. Can ya believe it? It actually slowed me down!"
Farcanal 8 months ago
Whether you're right or wrong, whether you think you know what I believe or not, I don't give a toss. Your just so ruddy boring. Wind your neck in and give your mouth a rest
qwerty12 8 months ago
oh contador better be good in the tour, we want to see battles between froome and the contenders if not froome will just ride away borinnnng!
TheBean 8 months ago
Agreed. If no one takes advantage of an opportunistic attack, Froome will just ride with the groups then burst out in the last few k's to make time. Berto has shown he doesn't mind attacking, so it might be a spectacle. If Berto, either or both Schlecks, and a few others make the TdF a s**tstorm, then we have much to look forward to.
nepetalactone 8 months ago
I love me a good old fashioned s**tstorm!
movingtarget 8 months ago
Contador will be lucky to make the podium. Andy Schleck is even saying Froome can be beaten. What he did not add was that Froome won't be beaten by anyone with the surname Schleck. Rogers will also be a loss to Contador. One of his best domestiques. Kreuziger might finish ahead of Contador. Almost did in 2013 even with all of the pace work he did for Contador.
PCM Geek 8 months ago
I'm wondering. How is it you know the outcome of this race already? How do you know Schleck, Contador or some no name won't be on top form (and have a high degree of confidence in addition to form which Andy has been lacking) and beat Froome? He hasn't won anything yet. All he is, is the favorite because of last years performance. Things could change and he could have problems... Just saying... Don't count your chickens before they are hatched as the old saying goes...
kdogg64 8 months ago
All the Froome lovers are operating on the assumption that he will have the exact same form as last year. I don't dislike Froome, but it's tough to time it exactly right year after year unless your doping, which I'm in no way implying. It can be done, but it's hard.
Terrence Martineau 8 months ago
yup... just ask Philippe Gilbert about that... one season everything clicks and you win everything under the sun... next year, you're struggling to make top 5...
TheFred 8 months ago
I do dislike Froome (well...call is distrust, he's a likable guy on screen). But as the dearly departed Heckler said, "he's been sitting on this form since late '11" There is no reason to think he will forget his lessons. And he is at an age when men reach physical peaks.
movingtarget 8 months ago
Opinions opinions we all have them. Froome won by almost 5 minutes last year. Quite a margin. Of course Froome is not unbeatable but apart from Quintana who will improve, I don't see Contador and Schleck as the riders they were.
GuyIncognito 8 months ago
This interview reminds me of the 'Evans confident of 2013 Tour challenge' article this time last year. And the similar Menchov one the year before. And the Sastre one the year before that. You get the point
nepetalactone 8 months ago
Neither Evans nor Menchov are nearly of the same caliber (or as young when respective articles were published) as Contador. One subpar season after two years off (the first one of which he had a tour and giro title rescinded) is pretty poor statistics. If you think about it, Conty still 'won' (on the top step of the podium on the final day) 3 of the last 4 GTs he entered.
Peter von 8 months ago
Or Froome a year ago? or Contador prior to the 2012 Vuelta? or perhaps Evans prior to the 2010 Giro
amr4121 8 months ago
Seriously, what's the point of all these "I believe I'm going to win the tour" articles? I mean, what are these guys (Schleck, Contador, etc) supposed to say? "I know my sponsors are paying me millions, but I'm gonna finish off the podium again this year." Of course they're all going to say they'll do better this year. It would only be news if Contador said he was going to take up tennis instead.
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Lucifa 8 months ago
Rogers wont be lining up at Le Tour, He'll be doing the minimum doping ban at that time .
ellenbrook2001 8 months ago
you are such an idiot you should apologized to CONTATOR
Lucifa 8 months ago
Micks to busy hiring a lawyer and thinking of an excuse.
Raoul Duke 8 months ago
Contador has to believe in himself or why would he even ride? He knows he has to live up to past results so even though he rides at a high level he knows it must be even better. That is one of the reasons I am looking forward to this season, I like his attacking, never give up style. He tries until he is defeated. At least he tries...
Manuel Schoel 8 months ago
Contador or Nibali, I don't mind who wins the tour as long as Froome and Sky will be beaten.
Dan Vella 8 months ago
Yawn
TANK91 8 months ago
Yes i get what u mean Manuel, i mean no one likes Sky their "Supposed Dopers" but you go ahead and back a doper like the rest. Oh the irony is amusing
nepetalactone 8 months ago
You are so special Tank; I want you to remember that.
wirral 8 months ago
Contador and Froome will be epic battle. To winner spoils to loser only despair.
kdogg64 8 months ago
If Nibali comes in with the same form as last years Giro, he can beat both those guys as well. Hopefully there won't be any bad crashes that take these guys out prematurely.