Despite being the only rider in last year’s top eight to return to the Dauphine, Alberto Contador has ruled himself out of winning the competition this year.
The double Tour de France winner reached Evian, near the Leman lake, after a training camp in the Pyrénées in which he trained on the mountain stages where he intends to win the Grande Boucle.
“I’m in a phase of building my foundations for the Tour de France”, Contador said. “I have the feeling that I’m getting better and better each day but yet, my physical condition isn’t good enough for me to target the overall win at the Dauphiné. Therefore I’ll race here in a more relaxed way than usual. I’m back at this race because twice in the past it’s been a good preparation for the Tour.”
Last year he finished third but it was a troubled time at Astana when wages didn’t arrive on time and the future of the team was uncertain.
“The Dauphiné is a great race to have on a record book”, he added. “Shall the opportunity to win occur, I’d give it a try but I’m here mostly to test my new time trial bike recently delivered by Specialized. It’s more compact. It has a smaller frame. It’s adapted to my changes of rhythm when I move out of my saddle.”
The 6.8km time trial on Sunday and the 49km race against the clock on Wednesday will be an important test for him. Shall he consider the test not completed, he’ll take part in the Spanish championship for time trial – but not the road race – which is the only race he might compete in before the Tour de France.
For two days after the Dauphiné, Contador will remain in the Alps to study the finish of Avoriaz and the only real Alpine stage that features four passes including the col de la Colombière and the col de la Madeleine.
“The Dauphiné gives me the opportunity to climb L’Alpe d’Huez for the first time”, he added. “This is a mythical climb. But I won’t have the appropriate condition for it.” This is the first time ever for the Dauphiné to use L’Alpe d’Huez.
“After the Dauphiné until the end of this year, the Tour de France is the only race on my calendar, for sure”, revealed Contador who will wait for the end of the Grande Boucle to decide whether or not he will add the Vuelta a España or other late season events to his schedule.