Vuelta a España leader Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) has confirmed that he will not be taking part in the world championships in Ponferrada. Speaking during his rest press conference on Tuesday, Contador stated simply: “It’s not in my plans.”
“I will let another rider take my place, my priority is to rest,” he said. “Looking at the route, it’s not at all good for me as a race and I have already raced a lot this season.
“It’s more suited for other riders like [Alejandro] Valverde or Purito [Joaquim Rodriguez].”
Asked by website Biciciclismo about how he felt in general, Contador responded, “not as good as at the Tour.”
“It’s going to be a tough final week. There are mountainous stages, hilly stages and apart from the fact that in Galicia the terrain is very demanding, I will have to watch all my rivals. Then there’s the final time trial.”
It was suggested to Contador that there was the possibility of a repeat of a scenario like the Fuente De stage in 2012, where he ambushed race leader Joaquim Rodriguez to win the Vuelta. The difference this time, of course, is that it is Contador who would be on the receiving end of those attacks.
“It’s not that improbable, I’m always careful and concentrated, and that’s going to be my strategy. But a thousand scenarios can develop,” Contador said.
The set-piece battle, meanwhile, is most likely to be on Ancares on Saturday. The last time the race visited there, in 2012, victory went to Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), with Contador second, five seconds back, and Valverde third at 13 seconds, while Chris Froome came fifth, 38 seconds down.
“It’s by far the most demanding stage that is left and with some prior climbs, too, so everybody’s strength will be limited. A lot of things can happen. I will try to make the most of my opportunities, bearing in mind I don’t have to pull back any time.”
Chris Froome is one rider he will be watching closely. “I feel motivated racing against the best riders in the world, it makes the victories more prestigious and has more impact in the media,” Contador said. “Froome is one of those reference points.
“When Sky were going flat out [on Monday’s stage], I was not sure if he would crack or then go on the attack. Unlike at Lagos de Covadonga he changed speed suddenly and went all out to the finish.
“You have to respect him for that, and I’m very aware of how talented he is and you can’t waste any chance. I’m sure he will try to make the most of any situation and the one which suits him the best is Ancares."