Spaniards first appearance at road race since 2003
Alberto Contador and his teammates from Saxo Bank-SunGard continue to reconnoitre the Alpine stages of the Tour de France although they couldn’t climb the colle dell’Agnello due to an avalanche. The recent winner of the Giro d’Italia met with some Italian sportif riders who had walked on the snow to reach the top but he didn’t want to take the same risk.
"It’s not worth it, not this close to the Tour," Bradley McGee, Contador's DS, told Cyclingnews.
The Spaniard, together with Jesus Hernandez, Dani Navarro, Chris Anker Sørensen, Brian Vandborg and Richie Porte are all doing pre-tour preparation in the French Alps. The six rode from the top of the colle dell’Agnello, the highest peak of the Tour de France at 2,744 metres and rode the descent on the French side. They then took on the Izoard and the Galibier, both of which are featuring in stage 17 of the coming Grande Boucle.
The altitude training being conducted by Saxo-Bank provides a break from racing for Contador who has just come from winning the Giro d’Italia. That break however won’t last long with the Spaniard looking to perform well in next week's Spanish national road championships.
The winner of all three grand tours is taking his participation at the nationals very seriously, enlisting the help of Saxo Bank-SunGard directeur sportif Bradley McGee for the race at Castellón. "We believe that Alberto has a good chance to win the time trial as he did two years," McGee said. "The course is hard enough for him. Our staff will provide total support."
Contador will be supported in Castellón by his team-mates Hernandez, Navarro and Benjamin Noval who is currently riding the Tour de Suisse.
"It’ll still be hard to beat Movistar and the other Spanish teams with many more riders," McGee said. "But the course is definitely worth a try."
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