Spaniard Alberto Contador, winner of last year's Tour de France, is back in Italy after four years and will contest the Giro d'Italia, May 10 to June 1. The 25 year-old will co-captain Astana with Andreas Klöden.
"In 2003, my first year as a professional," Contador, who will arrive in Palermo tomorrow, told La Gazzetta dello Sport's Ciro Scognamiglio. "I rode the Giro del Lazio, Coppa Sabatini and Giro di Lombardia. I believe it [Lombardia] was the last race I rode in your country; it is great to return and to race an important race like the Giro."
Astana, despite originally being overlooked by the Giro d'Italia and not selected to ride the Tour de France, has had success with Contador. Earlier this year the youngster won the Vuelta a Castilla y León and Vuelta a País Vasco overall classifications. During the País Vasco Contador suffered from a tooth ache and ask the team to call in a dentist to get rid of the problem. Contador had envisioned making his return to racing in the Dauphiné Libéré, June 8 to 15, before Astana received its last minute Giro invitation.
"The Giro, for a climber like me, is an extraordinary course," Contador explained. "My form is unknown; I will do what I can. I know that the Italian public is really warm-hearted and this will give me extra motivation."