Alberto Contador has confirmed that he will close out his time at Tinkoff at Il Lombardia and the Abu Dhabi Tour. With Oleg Tinkov set to walk away from the sport at the end of this season, Contador is moving on to pastures new at Trek-Segafredo.
Contador, who has been with the team under the leadership of both Bjarne Riis and Tinkov, paid tribute to his team before confirming his last outings in the distinctive yellow kit.
"I have to thank Tinkoff for everything. I have really happy with the last four years with Tinkoff and to wear their jersey. The riders worked really hard for me and we did everything to try and win," he said during a press conference in Italy to mark the start of a three-day event that will see fans and young riders train with the Spaniard on the Gavia and Mortirolo.
"I am still a Tinkoff rider and I will continue to represent the team. My final races with the team will be the Giro di Lombardi and then I will also be in Abu Dhabi."
Contador penned his new deal with Trek-Segafredo during the Tour de France, as confirmed by Cyclingnews, but the official announcement only came this week. Joining him at the team will be his long-time lieutenant Jesus Hernandez, directeur sportif Steven de Jong and Ivan Basso. He will also link up with current Trek rider Bauke Mollema and new signing Jarlinson Pantano at the team.
He kept quiet on his plans for next season but confirmed that the Tour de France would be the main focus for the year. "It's a little soon now, I have to talk to the team and make plans for the season. At the moment we are thinking totally about the Tour," said Contador.
"I am really motivated to perform for Trek-Segafredo. They have provided me with some big objectives, especially thinking about the Tour de France. The riders and the staff have a high quality and the experience that they have. I am really focused and motivated and I'm really looking forward to racing next season."
Contador has had an up and down season with strong early performances leading to high hopes at the Tour de France. However, two crashes in the opening two days resulted in him abandoning before the first rest day. The Vuelta a Espana, as it has done in previous seasons, provided him with an opportunity to rectify the disappointment. However, a disappointing time trial and yet another crash put him on the back foot, and he finished off the podium when Esteban Chaves (Orica-BikeExchange) went on the attack on the penultimate stage and gained enough time to leapfrog him into third.
"The season was quite intense. The first part of the season went really well I came really close to victory in in Paris-Nice and Catalunya. I was second in those races but in Pais Vasco I was able to take my first victory of the season," explained Contador.
"I went into the Tour de France with really good sensations after the Dauphine. In the Tour it didn't start very well with two crashes. I really tried to continue but it was impossible. Later, at the Vuelta I felt really good. I lost some time in the team time trial but I continued with a lot of motivation but then I had a crash and maybe that affected me."