Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) has confirmed that although he will be racing the Abu Dhabi Tour, he will not be leading Trek-Segafredo there: rather his objective is to hone his race form and work for teammate Bauke Mollema.
"Of course Bauke will be our leader," Contador told Spanish newspaper MARCA on Sunday. "I'll be delighted to help him. The fact that we are both there creates an ideal situation."
Abu Dhabi will be the first time where Mollema and Contador take part as Trek-Segafredo teammates, with Contador explaining to MARCA that although his base form is very good, he needs to hone his top-end form before his first big target of the season, Paris-Nice.
"I've felt very good in the Ruta and my race condition is good," Contador added. "But I need to get sharper form to be able to accelerate hard, and you can only get that by racing, not matter how much you train."
Contador said that the decision to race Abu Dhabi was taken a few days before racing in the Ruta del Sol, "because I've done thousands and thousands of metres worth of vertical climbing in training in Tenerife, but nothing behind a motorbike and even better than doing that kind of training behind a motorbike is picking up speed in a race itself."
"We looked at the option of doing some more training, but given the amount of energy I would expend training at high level we decided to go for racing instead."
Contador added that he would not be removing any races from his program in order to equalize the number of pre-Tour race days, simply that "Abu Dhabi in an ideal spot in the calendar, between Andalucia and Paris-Nice. And it's a straightforward race, three flat stages and one uphill. That's why we've included it."