Contador pleased with pre-season prep before Andalucía

Tinkoff-Saxo leader says Hazallanas stage will indicate his form

Alberta Contador said Tuesday that he is pleased with his pre-season preparation and is ready for his 2015 campaign to start this week at the Vuelta a Andalucía Ruta Ciclista del Sol.

The Tinkoff-Saxo leader will ride the Spanish race for the first time, facing off against Tour de France rival Chris Froome (Team Sky) over the five-day race that features a road race and time trial on the first day.

"I'm happy to be here because it is a race I have never done in my career and I feel good," Contador said.

"I had a winter the way I wanted, I did a lot of groundwork thinking about the Giro and the Tour, as they will be the two cornerstones that will mark my season. Perhaps I will lack a bit of explosiveness here, but I'm bringing a strong team and we can do a good job."

Contador is targeting the Giro-Tour double this year, and as such has delayed his preparation from where he was at this point in previous years.

"This year I put on a little less intensity, thinking precisely on the Giro and the Tour," he said. "I wanted to have a good level, but not wear me out more than necessary. Maybe I'm a little further back than last year."

Despite lacking peak condition, Contador said he will give the maximum effort in every stage, although it is too early to predict what kind of results he can achieve.

"It will be my physical condition that decides how it all goes," he said. "I will do my best to finish with a result as good as possible, but if we refer to winning, I think it is complicated."

Nevertheless, he believes this year's parcours in Andulcía favor a rider with his skills.

"It's a very attractive route and I support this kind of parcours because it engages the public, and fans like it thanks to the time-trial and the two uphill finishes," he said. "I am familiar with the third stage, Hazallanas, and I know it's particularly hard. That’s where we will see how I compare to the other riders. I'll try to do my best and we'll see where I stand."

The winner of the 2007 and 2009 Tours said he is also excited about racing for the first time with Ivan Basso as a teammate, saying it was a dream come true to compete with the Italian veteran.

"We have an extraordinary relationship and I am honored that a champion of his level will work for me," he said.

The winner of six Grand Tours also commented on a statement he made on Monday, when he discussed his possible retirement in 2016.

"There have been many comments on what I said about my retirement, but you have to be aware that there are still two full seasons ahead," he explained. "It seems as if I were to retire tomorrow and there are still a thousand races left ahead of us, in which a thousand things might happen. What I want is to enjoy every moment, every race and continue the way I have been doing so far. Two years is still a long time."

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