After taking a break from competition of slightly more than one month following a 4th place result at the Tour de France, Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff) will return to competition this coming Sunday at the GP Plouay. The 30-year-old Spaniard hopes to return to peak form for the world championships and Il Lombardia and has defied convention by skipping the Vuelta a Espana, which he won in 2012, and has instead opted for hard training and one-day races to hone his condition.
"The calendar is very unusual for me, very different, with only one-day races, about a total of 8 classics, including the world championship," said Contador. "That's where I want to be at my best, together with Lombardy. I'll start in Plouay, continue with Brussels, Fourmies, Quebec, Montreal, the world championship, Milan-Turin and Lombardy.
"After the Tour I continued training for San Sebastian, then I took a break about 5 or 6 days before returning to training. It seems that I have recovered from the stress of the Tour and I'm working to do well at the end of the year."
While riders who perform well at the world championships have traditionally contested the Vuelta a Espana beforehand, Contador believes his schedule will provide proper preparation as well.
"Almost everyone who wants to perform well at the World does the Vuelta, but I don't think it's impossible to get in top condition [without competing at the Vuelta]. I'm training hard, doing a lot of endurance and simulating Worlds conditions. You cannot get the rhythm of the Vuelta by training, but I hope to arrive [at Worlds] well. It is a different program, but that motivates me and I hope to find a good form and reach my best level."
Contador has been pleased with him team's performance at the Vuelta with both Nicolas Roche and Michael Morkov each winning the first Grand Tour stages of their respective careers during the opening week. The Spaniard has no regrets about not defending his 2012 title.
"It's a race that I like and that I have really good memories, but I made the decision when planning the calendar. We agreed that I would not do it because there are other riders on the team that should also have opportunities after sacrificing for me. In addition, with this points system it is important that other riders can score points.
"The decision was correct, although now I miss it a little, but...why not next year?"