Contador confirms calendar for 2016 season

Spaniard's final season to include Tour de France and Olympic Games

Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) has confirmed the outline of calendar for the 2016, what is widely expected to be his final year at WorldTour level. Contador confirmed that the main objective of 2016 will be the Tour de France but he is also targeting a place in the Spanish team for the Olympic Games in both the time trial and road race. Contador revealed his race calendar while speaking during an event about strokes at a at the Ramon and Cajal Hospital in Madrid, where he was treated following a cerebral cavernoma in 2004.

Contador will begin his last season at the Volta ao Algarve in Portugal at the end of February before riding Paris-Nice and the Volta a Catalunya in March. The Vuelta al País Vasco at the start of April will be the last of his early season races before taking a two-month break.

Contador will then make a return to racing at the Criterium du Dauphiné in June, followed by the Tour de France. The Olympic Games, which takes place at the start of August is the next thing on his calendar. He is also expected to ride the Vuelta a Espana.

It is a fairly similar calendar to that of previous years with Paris-Nice, instead of Tirreno-Adriatico, and the Olympics the only major changes. His choice of Grand Tours is slightly different to the ones he rode in 2015, with the Giro d’Italia falling by the wayside.

"It's a classic calendar," he said in a statement. "Almost certainly I will start in the Tour of Algarve, this year I will return to Paris-Nice and follow with Volta a Catalunya and the Tour of the Basque Country. There I will start a period of rest to return then to the Dauphine Criterium and Tour de France."

The 32-year-old told Cyclingnews in September that he would like to go out on a high. "I have always wanted to retire at the highest level – that's the way I want people to remember me," he said.

"The primary objective is the Tour de France. I'm a rider who likes to be competitive in every race I enter – I want to do well in the races at the start of the year – but the focus will be purely on the Tour. The only thing I can guarantee is that I'm preparing for it 100 per cent.”

Contador indicated that should he suffer a 'mishap' at the Tour de France then he could extend his career into 2017 but that is unlikely. 

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