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Contador wants more wins in 2014, Tirreno-Adriatico included

Alasdair Fotheringham
February 17, 19:15,
February 17, 23:18
Second Edition Cycling News, Monday, February 17, 2014
Volta ao Algarve
Thumbs up. Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) aims to hit the ground running in 2014.

Thumbs up. Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) aims to hit the ground running in 2014.

  • Thumbs up. Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) aims to hit the ground running in 2014.
  • Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) is aiming for Tour de France glory in 2014.
  • Alberto Contador (Tinkoff - Saxo)
  • Chris Froome leads Alberto Contador and Joaquim Rodríguez at the Tour of Oman

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Tinkoff-Saxo leader changes up start to season, launches U23 team

Waiting for a plane to take him to his first race of the season, as he talks to Cyclingnews it emerges that Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) has one major goal in 2014: to add victories to consistency. And if he could take one win from the early part of the season, that would be Tirreno-Adriatico.

His racing season starts in the Volta ao Algarve on Wednesday, which he has won in 2009 and 2010, and continues with Tirreno-Adriatico, the Volta a Catalunya and the Vuelta al País Vasco. "If you asked me which one I preferred to win, I would have to say Tirreno-Adriatico, because it's not in my palmares yet," Contador, third in the 'Race of Two Seas' last year, comments. "The other three are already there."

"You work for wins, and I hope this year is better than the last. I am very motivated and very keen to get going. I've been able to prepare my season better than in 2013, getting a good base and I hope that works out on the road, too."

As the Madrid-born rider says, there have already been two changes for Contador in 2014 : starting later and starting closer to home. Contador has missed out on the Tour of San Luis in January, a race he rode in 2013 and 2012. And rather than repeat his journey to the Tour of Oman, where he finished second in 2013, he has gone back to his roots, as it were, by making his season debut in the Tour of the Algarve in Portugal.

As the 31-year-old says, "the Algarve is a race I know well. The individual time trial [which tends to decide the race] is shorter than other years and it won't produce enormous differences, and the summit finish is not that tough. Combine the two, and that means more riders have more possibilities."

Can he win it? "It's a race I've always done well in, but maybe back then there weren't so many early season races as there are now, like Dubai or San Luis. So there are people out there who have already got some racing under their belt. Finally what I have to do is get going and see what my form is like."

As for further ahead, "If you look at how I did in 2013, I was up there in pretty much all of my races, in the top five of a lot of them," Contador says. "But that's not enough, it’s winning that’s my objective, and that’s what 2014 is about."

"So I've reduced the number of race days, and I've delayed my season start, with the aim of getting better results when I do race."

Before heading to Portugal and his first race of the season, Contador has spent a large part of Monday in the city of Segovia, at the presentation of the two teams he is helping to run, the Specialized-U23 team and the Flex-Junior squad, via the Alberto Contador Foundation.

The Flex-Junior team kicked off in 2013 and this year the new Specialized-U23 squad has now taken shape, bringing the total number of riders involved in the project to 28. The teams are run by former Spanish national coach Jose Luis de Santos, with ex-pros Felix Garcia Casas and Rafa Díaz Justo as seconds-in-command.

Contador believes that sponsorship in Spanish cycling is experiencing a major crisis, and that particularly at base level "there are not that many teams, so I'm trying to help turn things around."

"It's difficult because you need a lot of different factors to get ahead in this sport, but I'm sure there'll be a lot of top names coming out of these squads in a very short period of time." He points to the example of Alvaro Cuadros, a member of the Contador Foundation junior team who signed with the Omega Pharma Continental squad Etixx-iHNed last October.

"It's important to do things well, because that's how the results come through, although the results are not the most important thing. These teams are about giving the riders the right kind of formation and allowing them to get to know cycling better as a sport." Contador reflects.

Anonymous 5 months ago
He should win in Algarve easily since the race has a weaker field. If not then it's a really bad sign for Tour...
Nicolaj221 5 months ago
So a race in February is going to effect how he race in July at the Tour?
TheBean 5 months ago
A race in February is an indicator of early season form. Early season form is an indicator (though not a perfect one) of what TdF form will be like.
GuyIncognito 5 months ago
What TheBean says is true. While at first glance you'd say it shouldn't have any bearing, it's actually extremely rare for someone to win the Tour without first showing at above their normal level in the early season While Algarve won't be a big indication, his March form very much will be.
kevinzamora 5 months ago
Just sometimes I think. Take Nibali's Tour of Oman last year, he didn't even make it to the podium, and yet he destroyed everyone at the Giro (which comes a month before TDF). I don't think it indicates much with so many months in the middle.
GuyIncognito 5 months ago
Nibali last year, seriously? First, to peak for the Giro you have to be building already in the early season, while the Tour contenders tend to have a first peak early then a second for the Tour, so the Giro contenders are actually behind on form until April yet he still was up there close to the other big names in Oman despite that Secondly, Nibali beat Froome, Contador, Rodríguez, etc in early March, how is that not a stellar early season?
PCM Geek 5 months ago
I think he's referring to the early races in January and February. Pretty big difference of a month or two I would say...
taborpolkadots 5 months ago
AC says “If you look at how I did in 2013, I was up there in pretty much all of my races, in the top five of a lot of them,”. This from a man who has crossed the line first in 7 GTs. I hope that he is just diminishing a fairly average '13 season and this is not an indication of his competitiveness going forward!
miteycasey 5 months ago
"But that's not enough, it’s winning that’s my objective, and that’s what 2014 is about." you left the important part out.
TheBean 5 months ago
Given that all but about 20 cyclists - at most - would happily trade their 2013 for Contador's requires him to be tactful about his lack of successes. If he said something like "My 2013 results were horrible" would be a slap in the face to most of his colleagues.
PCM Geek 5 months ago
Why would Contadore saying "his 2013 results were horrible" be a slap in the face to anybody? If he honestly thought his 2013 results were bad (compared to previous years) thats his prerogative. When somebody is comparing themselves to something they did in the past it's not a slap in the face to anybody...
le saboteur 5 months ago
can someone explain the whole foundation thing? everyone has a foundation! i dont get it?!?!
miteycasey 5 months ago
tax breaks while donating to a charity. It's basically buying PR with pre-tax dollars, reducing your tax bill.
TheBean 5 months ago
A foundation is a great way to build a public persona. In AC's case, he is choosing to help developmental riders through sponsorship. In LA's case, it was a huge PR outlet as well as a way for him to generate revenue. Depending on the country's tax laws, a foundation can be a way to avoid some taxes. Some use a foundation (the Floyd Fairness Fund) as a way to solicit for donations for a cause. Essentially, a Foundation is a way to move large amounts of money and not have that money go through a person's personal accounts. A lot of good and a lot of less-than-good can be accomplished in this way.
ShawnB 5 months ago
A foundation established by a pro athlete tends also to pay that same athlete either a salary, or speaking or appearance fees, or for the use of their image in its marketing. Or all three. The athlete then gets income for PR, instead of paying for PR. And gets associated with something warm and fuzzy in the public eye. Some of these foundations can do some good. But that's independent of the fact that they're still at heart essentially a scam for the star who established the foundation, and was created more for their personal gain and financial sheltering, than for the needy group named. It should be some type of scandal, but generally isn't, and I'm not sure why. :)
le saboteur 5 months ago
RalphK 5 months ago
Why should it be a scandal? Many businessmen arrange their affairs in far more dubious ways to avoid paying higher taxes, manipulating investments and trusts to their benefit and nobody blinks an eye. But let a sportsman have some financial savvy and suddenly it's a scandal? Here there are young cyclists who are in fact benefitting and AC gets some good press - nothing scandalous there.
TheBean 5 months ago
No one mentioned a scandal.
thelowerdepths 5 months ago
Shawn B did …
ShawnB 5 months ago
Yes, I did. To answer RalphK's question, when the creator of a foundation takes the lion's share of that foundation's income, it seems scandalous. When the foundation does little to no work for the named beneficiaries (which has happened with any number of foundations started by NBA and pop stars in the US, for instance) many feel that this is unethical and disingenuous, and purposeful misrepresentation. This is an emerging issue so it's not too surprising it's still in our blind spot, but quite a few journalists have published on the less-than-heartwarming finances behind some star-powered foundations that seem to have been created for the star's personal gain and/or for preemptive or damage-control PR. I've seen it discussed as an emerging scandal by the New York Times, so please don't play the "Wall-Streeters-do-much-worse" card. Boring argument and doesn't excuse playing (and preying) on public belief that their donated dollars will help needy people. Get real. We're not allowed to post links but ESPN and NYT have stories instantly available from a .1-second search if you would bother looking. Just search "Lamar Odom fake charity" or "115 athlete charities lack standards."
PCM Geek 5 months ago
Thats a bunch of bull...
wheelman1uk 5 months ago
It sounds very much like Mr Tinkoff has said, "I want results and I want then quickly". I think Alberto needs to watch his back. Tinkoff is not a very nice or patient man.
nico__ 5 months ago
Great to see him back in yellow again, even if it's only his team kit and not the tdf. (but if you crop it just right...) haha
gospina 4 months ago
Tirreno Adriatico may be the most exciting race of the year. We have most of the contenders of Giro and Tour here and all are now trying to build form.