As in 2012, Alberto Contador's racing season will kick off in Argentina at the Tour de San Luis, taking place January 21-26. Contador and his five Saxo-Tinkoff teammates: Jesus Hernandez, Niki Sorensen, Benjamin Noval, Sergio Paulinho and Bruno Pires, arrived in Argentina on Tuesday and went out on their first training ride in the summer heat.
It's a much more relaxed atmosphere than 2012, when Contador arrived at the Tour de San Luis under the heavy cloud of doping allegations. He went on to finish second behind Levi Leipheimer but his name would ultimately be scrubbed from the record books as part of his ban, stemming from his 2010 Tour de France positive, which came to fruition in February 2012 and extended into August.
"We face this year's race in a completely different way, looking for a good preparation for the coming months," said Contador. "So we arrived early, to get good time for training. In addition, the atmosphere in the team is extraordinary and I am sure it will be noticed in the races."
Contador indicated that following his participation at the Tour de San Luis, at 2.1 the highest-rated UCI event in South America, he'd next contest the Tour of Oman (February 11-16) along with Tirreno-Adriatico (March 6-12) and Critérium International (March 23-24). Contador has indicated that his primary goal for 2013 is to win the Tour de France.
"I am happy with the preparation," said Contador. "I'm giving priority to having more base in order to be fresher during the main objectives of the season. The training data is good and what I intend now is to hone my weight gradually."