Alberto Contador has confirmed that the Tour de France will again be his big goal in 2010 season but insists he is not the only favourite for the yellow jersey.
The 2007 and 2009 Tour winner was the star of the official Astana team presentation in Vienna, Austria on Saturday. Looking fit and happy, Contador posed with Alexandre Vinokourov, Oscar Pereiro, and his 24 teammates in the bright blue and white Astana kit.
"The big goal is to repeat my victory in the Tour de France. But I know it won’t be easy because there are lots of other riders who also have the same goal. I think there are eight or maybe ten riders with a real chance but both the team and I will be giving everything to win it," Contador said.
"I don’t like saying that I’m the big favourite. There are other favourites because of their physical strengths and because of tactical factors, such as the strength of the teams. If I had to say one name of someone who could cause me trouble in the mountains, I’d say Andy Schleck because he was second last year."
Happier without Lance
Contador also included former team mate Lance Armstrong as a Tour favourite but seemed happy not to be on the same team as the Texan after their tense relationship in 2009.
"Of course Lance will be one of my rivals this year but I'm more relaxed," Contador said.
"We have a very good team at Astana and I think we’ll have a great season. The team has worked hard in training and I am pleased with everybody’s motivation and the commitment they are putting in. That's the key."
Both Vinokourov and Pereiro said they would back Contador 100% in the Tour de France.
"The aim is to win the Tour de France for Astana and show that, with Alberto Contador, we are the best team in the world. I think that with his talent and my experience, we can count on him to succeed," Vinokourov said.
Pereiro almost retired before joining Astana but is now one of five Spaniards in the team.
"When Alberto is in the team, all the riders will work for Alberto, this team is for Alberto. He's the best rider in the world and that’s motivation for everyone," he said.
Pereiro, Enrico Gasparotto and Alan Davis will lead the Astana team in Sunday’s Gran Prix La Marseillaise in the south of France.
Contador will begin his season at the Volta ao Algarve stage race in Portugal on February 17.