Spaniard to lead Saxo Bank-SunGard team in July
Alberto Contador has confirmed he will ride this year’s Tour de France.
Speaking after riding the Marcha Alberto Contador mass participation ride in his home town of Pinto, near Madrid, Contador confirmed he will attempt to complete a Giro d’Italia-Tour de France double. The last rider to win cycling’s biggest two grand tours was Marco Pantani in 1998.
"Yes, I'll go to the Tour de France. But it's a difficult challenge because nobody has been able to win the Giro and the Tour for 15 years,” Biciciclismo.com reported Contador as saying.
"The Tour is the biggest race there is and all the best riders ride it. That gives me extra motivation.”
Contador tested positive for Clenbuterol during the 2010 Tour de France but has always blamed the positive on contaminated meat brought to France from Spain by a close friend.
That explanation was eventually accepted by the Spanish Cycling Federation in February but both the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the International Cycling Union (UCI) have appealed the verdict to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). A verdict was expected before the Tour de France but the hearing has been delayed until August due to the complexities of the case.
A recent poll carried by French radio station Alouette suggested that 63% of French people questioned were against Contador riding this year’s Tour de France.
Contador was also doubtful after winning a very difficult Giro d’Italia. He was not satisfied with the results of a test during training on Friday but decided to ride the Tour de France after speaking to Saxo Bank-SunGard team manager Bjarne Riis.
"Yesterday I did a test and it wasn’t the best result but I know that there is still time (to recover)" he explained.
Contador said he would study several key stages of the race in the next two weeks and possibly ride the time trial event at the Spanish national championships.
Contador beat Andy Schleck to win the 2010 Tour de France. The two are the big favourites for this year’s race which begins in the Vendee region of central France on Saturday July 2.
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