Contador’s form has been transformed so far this season with two stage wins and the overall in Tirreno Adriatico, a stage and second place in the Volta ao Algarve and second overall in the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya. It’s a stark contrast to last season in which the Spaniard’s only win came via a stage in the Tour de San Luis.
“Alberto has been showing good form this season and it wouldn’t be natural if I didn’t expect him to deliver another podium performance here in this race,” Philippe Mauduit, the team’s sport director said.
“But that doesn’t mean it will be easy. I think stage one, the uphill finish on stage four and the time trial will be the key stages. The initial stage looks pretty hard and the first mountain stage will always show surprises and we have to stay alert. Not just during this stage but throughout the race because every slope is a cunningly designed launching pads for attacks,” added Mauduit.
Contador has won the race twice before – in 2008 and 2009 – but will face stiff competition from the likes of Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), Michael Kwiatkowski (Omega-Pharma Quick Step and the AG2R double act of Carlos Betancur and Jean-Christophe Peraud.
The Tinkoff leader will however be supported by a strong line-up which includes Roman Kreuziger, Bruno Pires, Jesper Hansen, Jesus Hernandez, Michael Mørkøv, Rory Sutherland and Sergio Paulinho.