Although likely to focus his 2013 season around the Tour de France, Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank) refused to rule out lining up at the Giro d’Italia after attending the presentation of next year’s course in Milan on Sunday.
Among the guests of honour in the Spazio Pelota scarcely two months after returning from a belated suspension for a positive test for clenbuterol at the 2010 Tour, Contador noted that the succession of snappy mountain stages in the final week could provide a platform for an overall contender to attack from distance.
The Spaniard has previous in this regard, of course – he won the recent Vuelta a España thanks to a surprise raid on the road to Fuente De, while at last year’s Tour, he launched an ultimately unsuccessful raid on the final mountain stage to l’Alpe d’Huez.
“I think it’s quite a good and balanced Giro,” Contador said. “There’s a time trial that will favour the specialists, but there a lot of big mountain stages too. The interesting thing is that there are some very tough climbs quite early on in those stages, so it might be possible to attack from distance.”
Contador described the 55-kilometre stage 8 time trial from Gabbice Mare to Saltara in the Marche region as “something of a novelty” but stressed that the race’s two other time trials – the stage two team test around the island of Ischia in the Bay of Naples and the stiff mountain time trial to Polsa in the final week – could prove equally critical.
“The team time trial and that mountain time trial will make a big difference,” he warned. “On top of that, the final week is really very demanding, with some really tough summit finishes.
“It’s a Giro that could suit me quite well, but I don’t know my schedule yet. I’ll wait and see what the presentations of the other grand tours bring, and then make a decision on what I ride next year based on that.”
Earlier in the afternoon, however, Contador confirmed that his one-time ambition of winning all three grand tours in a single season has been put on hold for now. “I think it would be very difficult. It’s hard to balance the three weeks of racing with four weeks off between the Giro, Tour and Vuelta,” he said. “In the past, I thought about that possibility, but right now, I’m not.”