His teammates are battling the elements at the Tour of California, but Alberto Contador, who starts his season with the Volta ao Algarve tomorrow, believes he's the strongest he's ever been during his career.
There's been much talk about whether he'll be able to repeat his victory in the Tour de France given the presence of a certain Lance Armstrong in the Astana lineup in 2009; the 26-year-old Spaniard's statement is a clear message that he wants to be numero uno when the the Tour begins in Monaco on July 4, however.
"I believe I will improve again this season because I have been better during training this year than the ones before," Contador said in a press release on Monday.
The Tour is Contador's main objective this season, and it's important that he does experience a peak in form later in the year – aided by the fact that, in his own words, "I am surprised by the way my body is responding."
He knows what he's up against if he is to repeat his performance of 2007, and despite claims we may not be the team's captain, it seems that in his mind he should be. Consequently, he's focusing on opponents outside his squad, rather than analysing the possibility of not being the chosen rider.
"There will also be the Schleck brothers [Fränk and Andy], Denis Menchov, Cadel Evans... although I cannot name all of them," he said.