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Alberto Contador (Tinkoff Saxo)
Team says it is planning for Vuelta a España without Contador
Sagan’s long-anticipated transfer from Cannondale to Tinkoff-Saxo was finally confirmed on Friday morning. Juraj Sagan, Maciej Bodnar and Pavel Brutt will also join the team to support Sagan, who has agreed a three-year deal.
“It is very great news, and expected, but I’m happy that it’s now official,” Contador said in a statement released by Tinkoff-Saxo. “Apart from the good relationship we have between us, Peter is also a great rider and a natural born winner. I’m sure that Peter’s arrival will lead to some great things on the team.”
Sagan’s arrival adds much-need firepower to Tinkoff-Saxo’s Classics unit and perhaps also helps to remove some of the onus on Contador to win races early in the season. Their paths will almost certainly cross at the Tour de France, however, where Contador will seek a third overall victory and Sagan will chase a fourth successive green jersey.
Tinkoff-Saxo CEO Stefano Feltrin described the prospect of the pair racing together next July as “an opportunity rather a problem,” and those thoughts were echoed by Contador.
“We are perfectly compatible and together we can ensure that Tinkoff-Saxo plays an important and noticeable role in most of the races on the calendar,” Contador said. “Peter is a super talent that I believe will fit very well in the team. We are all delighted to welcome him and to have him riding with us the coming years, because he will adapt very quickly to the way we work.”
Contador is currently recovering from the fractured tibia he sustained in the crash that forced him to abandon this year’s Tour de France. Although his press officer Jacinto Vidarte told Cyclingnews earlier this week that there was no prospect of him riding the Vuelta a España, Gazzetta dello Sport has since claimed that Contador still harbours hopes of lining up in Jerez on August 23.
Speaking to Cyclingnews on Friday morning, Feltrin did not rule out Contador’s participation categorically but acknowledged that it was unlikely. “At this moment, we’re making our plans for the Vuelta without Alberto,” he said, and downplayed rumours that Contador had already resumed full training.
“What Alberto is doing now is rehabilitation rather than training. But when he does start training, he should pick up form quickly because he had done so much work already to be prepared for July.
“Of course, everybody wants to see Alberto at the Vuelta and they want to see a spectacular race as he was forced out of the Tour, but he is also a big investment for us, and to send him back to a race like that so soon after his injury could be a big risk.”