After the trials and tribulations of last season, Alberto Contador [Tinkoff-Saxo] is beginning the new year in a fighting spirit.
“I am going to the Tour to win,” Contador told the press at the launch of his new School of Cycling. “I do not know who will be the leader in the pack. It is certain that [Chris] Froome dominated the 2013 season, but if he wants to win the Tour again he will have to beat the rest of the riders and teams who have prepared to the maximum.”
Contador took only one victory in 2013 at his opening race of the year, the Tour de San Luis. Despite his aggressive riding style, he struggled to nail down another win and is looking to rectify that as soon as possible. “I am highly motivated ahead of this campaign. I've spoken to the media less, so that I can focus more on training and I am very happy with how it's going."
The 31-year-old was very active in last year's Tour de France, but repeated attacks took their toll and he faded into fourth place in the final week. His inability to match Froome in the mountains caused, his team sponsor, Oleg Tinkov to take to twitter and criticise his motivation. The Spaniard dismissed the notion that this still causes friction between the two, stating that it is “old news” and that he has a good relationship with his new team owner.
Contador spoke to the media at the presentation of his new School of Cycling, for boys and girls aged between 8 and 14. The school is in addition to the junior and under 23 teams that were announced late last year. “This is a great day for me, because I never had the chance to enjoy a cycling school,” said the Spaniard.
“The goal isn't to make them professional, but for the kids to enjoy the bike.” He said “why not” when asked if the school would be the stepping stone to a future team, but admitted that is depended on “sponsorship support.”
Outside of discussions of his new school, the continues spectulation that the Spaniard would switch to Fernando Alonso's new team in 2015. Contador said that he won't count out teaming up with his compatriot in the future, but that he is staying put for now.
“When I heard that Fernando was going into cycling we spoke. We are two athletes in a similar place and with a good feeling,” he explained. “You never know what will happen in the future, but I signed for two more seasons (2014 and 2015) with the Saxo-Tinkoff and I must respect that contract.”
Contador will begin his season on February 19 at the Volta ao Algarve.