French national coach assesses sprinter's circuit, comments on Riis and Contador
French national coach Laurent Jalabert has visited the 2011 Worlds road race course north of Copenhagen, Denmark, predicting that the race will end in a showdown between sprinters.
"Many nations will come with sprinters and will therefore have an interest that it ends in a bunch sprint," Jalabert told cyclingword.dk, nevertheless pointing out that the circuit has its traps. "It's not a difficult route, but technical in that there are not many places where it goes straight on, so the field will be pulled out. It will be essential for the riders to position themselves properly and economise their energy," he said.
Moreover, Jalabert said that the sprint will be special because the finish is located on top of Geels Hill, on a road that is slightly uphill.
Also well-acquainted with Bjarne Riis from his last years as an active rider, the 41-year-old Frenchman was asked about the Saxo Bank manager and the possible suspension of his new star rider, Alberto Contador. If the Spaniard receives a ban for having Clenbuterol in his system during the last Tour de France, Jalabert said that Riis will terminate his contract with the rider and start the upcoming season without a team leader.
"If he [Contador - ed.] is suspended, there is no need for him. As soon as a penalty is official, you must get rid of the rider. It's logical," said Jalabert.
But the Frenchman also added that this setback would not mean the end of Riis.
"He has always been able to gather good riders around him, who may not have been familiar at first but who became known on his team, such Fuglsang and Breschel. He took them to a higher level on his team," the Frenchman told DR Sports.
However, many Saxo Bank riders including Fuglsang and Fabian Cancellara have left Riis for the new Luxembourg team built around the Schleck brothers. Still, Jalabert believed that if Contador is allowed to ride the Tour de France next year, he will beat his greatest rival Andy Schleck.
"Contador came to the team with riders who are willing to work for him. I think if Contador will compete in the Tour de France next year, Schleck will have a hard time beating him."
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