By Antonio J. Salmerón
He arrives at the Vuelta al País Vasco as a great favourite for the victory, after his domination in Paris-Nice and in the Vuelta a Castilla and Leon, but Alberto Contador (Discovery Channel) also knows that he took advantage of the absence of results of the rest of his rivals - except for his most feared challenger, Alejandro Valverde. The mountainous Vuelta al País Vasco route suits both riders perfectly, and in the final time trial, Contador and Valverde could have another advantage over their rivals.
The Vuelta al País Vasco has been always one of Contador's favourite races, but how does he view it this year? "There are short and explosive climbs, many climbs, but I like that," he said. "Still, I don't know if I'm as strong as I will have to be, because I have already been in form for a long time. Now I would like to do better, of course."
There are also many dangerous rivals, amongst them, "Alejandro Valverde and Samuel Sanchez have many possibilities for winning this race, more than the others, but also Koldo Gil, Gómez Marchante, Fränk Schleck, Damiano Cunego, Davide Rebellin...".
The Spaniard seemed to have studied the parcours in depth, and indicated that, "at the conclusion of the first stage, there will be a first breakup in the GC but nothing irreversible. In the second stage, some riders will be eliminated until arriving at the final time trial, in which five or six riders will be fighting for the victory."
Contador made a special point about the time trial (sixth stage), "in which the key will be to be among the first riders in the general classification and how I have recovered of the previous efforts."