Worlds: Contador’s absence is a big problem, says Spanish coach

Minguez responds to Sánchez's anger at non-selection

Javier Minguez, Spain’s national coach for the World Championships, has described the absence of Alberto Contador from his team as “the biggest problem I have to face.” Contador has opted not to take part in the World's, arguing that the circuit did not suit him.

Minguez was responding to comments from Samuel Sánchez, the 2008 Olympic gold medallist, expressing his dis-satisfaction over the way his non-selection for the Spanish line-up was handled. Sánchez described the fact he did not get a phone call telling him he was excluded prior to the definitive list of Spanish riders being published, as “tactless.” "The team is less strong without me,” Sánchez told Spanish sports daily MARCA.

Minguez’s response has been categorical, to say the least. “I didn’t call him or anybody else who wasn't selected,” he told Spanish website Biciciclismo. “I respect his opinion because he’s not happy, but I have to make decisions which mean bringing those riders whom I think will work best for me in the race.”

Warming to his theme, Minguez added, “Contador’s absence has affected how the team will work in general, he’s got great form, great endurance and we needed people who could work for the team because the end of the race is going to be complicated.”

For Minguez the non-selection of Sánchez is a question of not having a line-up which is too top heavy, with to many big-name riders for the finale and not enough to hold the race together earlier on.

“Yes, Samuel could be with [leader Alejandro] Valverde right until the end of the race,” Minguez told Biciciclismo. “But who’s going to work beforehand? Right now we’ve got too many riders for the end of the race.”

“I have to put together a squad that means we can be in the thick of the action throughout the race. Samuel’s presence or absence wasn’t going to be the biggest problem. The biggest problem is the absence of Contador, who was the strongest and who would have helped us greatly. But if he says he’s not coming, I have to respect that.”

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