Contador and Froome set to clash at Volta a Catalunya
Tour de France contenders line-up in Spain
Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) will test his form against Chris Froome (Team Sky) for the first time in 2016 at the Volta a Catalunya.
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Both riders are targeting the Tour de France this season but they have not raced against each other during their respective campaigns. Contador has built his spring around a more traditional programme of small stages races in Europe, while Froome started his season in Australia but has not raced since wining the Herald Sun Tour in January.
The climb-heavy route at the Volta a Catalunya will provide both riders with the chance to test their form out against one another. The race starts on Monday with a 175.8km stage that takes in five categorised climbs. With only one stage designed for the sprinters, there will be ample chances for the GC contenders to test their legs.
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"The level of the line-up can only be matched, probably, by the Tour de France," Contador said in a recent statment.
"There are so many rivals that there isn't any in particular that can be singled out, because virtually all teams will bring a favourite, who will be flanked by a very strong squad.”
Contador recently finished second overall in Paris-Nice. He was beaten to the top stop by Froome's teammate Geraint Thomas, although the Spaniard lit up the final stage with a number of attacks. He heads to Spain with a slight cold.
"I hope to head to the race well, because it was very cold in France, and one of the stages had to be cancelled due to snowfall," he said. "A lot of us that were there got a cold. I was one of them and for that reason, this week I focused myself, above all, on trying to recover in order to be able to take the start at the Volta a Catalunya."
Joining Contador will be Matteo Tosatto, Pawel Poljanski, Ivan Rovny, Jesper Hansen, Yuri Trofimov, Jesús Hernández and Evgeni Petrov.
Froome on the other hand will be joined by Thomas, Ben Swift, Ian Boswell, Vasil Kiryienka, Mikel Nieve, Wout Poels and Nicolas Roche.
Other GC contenders include Nairo Quintana (Movistar), Fabio Aru (Astana Pro Team), Richie Porte (BMC Racing), Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), Rigoberto Urán (Cannondale), Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing Team), Dan Martin (Etixx-Quick Step) and Ryder Hesjedal (Trek-Segafredo).
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