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Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff)
No Vuelta a España defence, says Saxo DS
Oleg Tinkov’s impending withdrawal as a backer of the Saxo-Tinkoff team will not alter Alberto Contador’s late-season plans and the Spaniard will not defend his Vuelta a España title, according to directeur sportif Philippe Mauduit.
After finishing fourth at the Tour de France, Contador immediately ruled out the possibility of lining up at the Vuelta, only for Saxo-Tinkoff manager Bjarne Riis to insist that a final decision had not yet been reached.
Speaking to Biciciclismo after Contador’s appearance at the Clásica San Sebastian (where he finished 46th), Saxo directeur sportif Philippe Mauduit confirmed that the two-time Vuelta winner will not be on the start line in Vilanova de Arousa on August 24.
“This week we spoke with Bjarne and Alberto, and we’ll continue with what we had planned,” Mauduit said.
Contador is due to participate in the Critérium de Lacq near Pau on Monday evening and the Critérium de Castillon-la-Bataille on Tuesday but is not expected to make another competitive appearance until the Grand-Prix Ouest France in Plouay on September 1.
L’Équipe reports that Contador may also take part in the two Canadian WorldTour races, the GP de Québec on September 13 and the GP de Montréal on September 15.
Contador’s Tour de France performance had been publicly criticised by Oleg Tinkov, owner of Tinkoff Bank, early last week, with the Russian taking to social media to claim the rider’s “salary doesn’t match his performance.”
On Thursday, Bjarne Riis issued a statement announcing that Tinkoff would no longer be a co-sponsor in 2014, saying, “we disagree on how the team should be run.”