Barely 24 hours before the start of the 2015 Giro d’Italia, Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) has revealed that the decision to go for the Giro-Tour double was inspired by his victory in the Vuelta last year.
Asked if his fall and abandon in the Tour de France last year had changed his mentality as a racer, Contador said, “no, not at all, but indirectly it has had a big influence on doing the Giro and Tour this year.”
“I went to the Vuelta last September without being in top condition and finally I got a very special win. That has given me the confidence to go for the Giro-Tour double this year.”
Talking in a press conference in his team hotel just a stone’s throw away from the opening team time trial course along the Ligurian coastline, Contador insisted that “I’m focussed on giving my all in both the Giro and the Tour, I give them both the same importance, I see them all as a whole.”
Asked which of his rivals he fears the most, Contador argued that “all of them are equally dangerous, from Richie [Porte] to [Rigoberto] Urán and Fabio Aru. Richie has been good since the start of the season, and Urán and Aru have focussed strongly on the Giro d’Italia, and will be building towards this race in particular. They are all equally important as rivals and there are others too.”
As for where he worries he might be attacked, Contador argued “the race will decide. My tactics will be more or less aggressive, depending on the race, but in general it’s going to be up to me to attack.”
As for two key moments, the Finestre and the mid-race time trial, Contador said, “The time trial is a very long one, without any respite, and we’ll have to see how that goes. The Finestre [on the final stage] could be a scenario for various situations: one is where I have to go all out to try and take the jersey, the other is that I’m defending it. Either way, I’ve got good memories of that climb from the 2011 race.”
Contador was also in bullish form concerning his current form, arguing that his data and ‘numbers’ from his test training rides “perhaps the best I’ve seen, better than in the past.” Either way, he argues he’s happy to be in Italy where he can “only say thanks, thanks and thanks again to the fans. They’re incredible. It’s always a huge pleasure to be here.”
Contador cited one moment as being special. “This morning we were checking out the team time trial route and I laughed a lot because one fan shouted out to me “Alberto, destroy them all!.” That kind of support is wonderful.”
That begged the question as to why Contador has not tried to do a Giro-Tour double before. “Other years the Tour and my motivation to do it was enough, but now its not at 100 percent. This is something new, it motivates me more.”
He is adamant though that he will not be changing his form of racing in the Giro because he is doing the Tour afterwards. “I’m not going to calculate anything like that and in a Grand Tour you haven’t really any options. You have to go out, do your racing, rest afterwards. For now, I’m only thinking about these three weeks.”
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Alasdair Fotheringham has been reporting on cycling since 1991. He has covered every Tour de France since 1992 as well as numerous other bike races of all shapes and sizes, ranging from the Olympic Games in 2008 to the now sadly defunct Subida a Urkiola hill climb in Spain. Apart from working for Cyclingnews.com, he is also the cycling correspondent for The Independent and The Independent on Sunday.
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