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Contador and Polartec-Kometa tackle Mt. Lemmon - Gallery

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Alberto Contador and a Polartec-Kometa camp guest set a quick pace up Mt. Lemmon outside of Tucson

Alberto Contador and a Polartec-Kometa camp guest set a quick pace up Mt. Lemmon outside of Tucson (Image credit: Pat Malach)
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Alberto Contador goes to the front at the bottom of Mt. Lemmon to set the pace.

Alberto Contador goes to the front at the bottom of Mt. Lemmon to set the pace. (Image credit: Pat Malach)
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Ivan Basso chats with Spanish U23 champion Issac Canton.

Ivan Basso chats with Spanish U23 champion Issac Canton. (Image credit: Pat Malach)
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It takes a lot of water bottles to keep the team, staff and guests hydrated in the desert.

It takes a lot of water bottles to keep the team, staff and guests hydrated in the desert. (Image credit: Pat Malach)
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A group of riders make their way up Mt. Lemmon

A group of riders make their way up Mt. Lemmon (Image credit: Pat Malach)
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Polartec-Kometa riders climb Mt. Lemmon with Ivan Basso

Polartec-Kometa riders climb Mt. Lemmon with Ivan Basso (Image credit: Pat Malach)
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Polartec-Kometa riders close in on some locals as they climb Mt. Lemmon

Polartec-Kometa riders close in on some locals as they climb Mt. Lemmon (Image credit: Pat Malach)
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Polartec-Kometa riders restart up Mt. Lemmon after stopping for food and drink.

Polartec-Kometa riders restart up Mt. Lemmon after stopping for food and drink. (Image credit: Pat Malach)
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A rider reaches for fuel mid-ride.

A rider reaches for fuel mid-ride. (Image credit: Pat Malach)
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Polartec-Kometa riders mug for the camera on the Mt. Lemmon ride

Polartec-Kometa riders mug for the camera on the Mt. Lemmon ride (Image credit: Pat Malach)
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Polartec-Kometa riders and team guests tackle Mt. Lemmon

Polartec-Kometa riders and team guests tackle Mt. Lemmon (Image credit: Pat Malach)
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Polartec-Kometa riders on the Mt. Lemmon climb

Polartec-Kometa riders on the Mt. Lemmon climb (Image credit: Pat Malach)
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Selfie time for Ivan Basso, an obscured Alberto Contador, and team staff.

Selfie time for Ivan Basso, an obscured Alberto Contador, and team staff. (Image credit: Pat Malach)
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Fran Contador, Ivan Basso and Alberto Contador

Fran Contador, Ivan Basso and Alberto Contador (Image credit: Pat Malach)
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Staff and riders refuel as they make their way up Mt. Lemmon

Staff and riders refuel as they make their way up Mt. Lemmon (Image credit: Pat Malach)
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Alberto Conatdor chases back up to the group after stopping for refreshments

Alberto Conatdor chases back up to the group after stopping for refreshments (Image credit: Pat Malach)
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Alberto Contador, Ivan Basso and Alberto Contador Foundation staff about halfway up the climb.

Alberto Contador, Ivan Basso and Alberto Contador Foundation staff about halfway up the climb. (Image credit: Pat Malach)
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Alberto Contador rides up Mt. Lemmon

Alberto Contador rides up Mt. Lemmon (Image credit: Pat Malach)
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Spanish staff marvel at a local riders' wooden Renovo bicycle.

Spanish staff marvel at a local riders' wooden Renovo bicycle. (Image credit: Pat Malach)
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Alberto Contador and a Polartec-Kometa camp guest set a quick pace up Mt. Lemmon outside of Tucson

Alberto Contador and a Polartec-Kometa camp guest set a quick pace up Mt. Lemmon outside of Tucson (Image credit: Pat Malach)
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Polartec-Kometa riders get ready for the first day ride in Arizona.

Polartec-Kometa riders get ready for the first day ride in Arizona. (Image credit: Pat Malach)
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Alberto Contador chats with Polartec CEO Gary Smith before the opening-day ride in Arizona.

Alberto Contador chats with Polartec CEO Gary Smith before the opening-day ride in Arizona. (Image credit: Pat Malach)
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Alberto Contador rides in Tucson with the Polartec-Kometa team run by his foundation

Alberto Contador rides in Tucson with the Polartec-Kometa team run by his foundation (Image credit: Pat Malach)
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Alberto Contador checks the group on the first ride of the Tucson training camp

Alberto Contador checks the group on the first ride of the Tucson training camp (Image credit: Pat Malach)
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There was time on the first day of camp for pictures with Ivan Basso

There was time on the first day of camp for pictures with Ivan Basso (Image credit: Pat Malach)
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Polartec-Kometa riders stop for a photo on the first day of the Tucson training camp.

Polartec-Kometa riders stop for a photo on the first day of the Tucson training camp. (Image credit: Pat Malach)
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Polartec-Kometa riders, staff and guests enjoy a ride in the desert on day 1 of the training camp in Tucson.

Polartec-Kometa riders, staff and guests enjoy a ride in the desert on day 1 of the training camp in Tucson. (Image credit: Pat Malach)
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Polartec-Kometa riders on day 1 of the training camp in Tucson, Arizona.

Polartec-Kometa riders on day 1 of the training camp in Tucson, Arizona. (Image credit: Pat Malach)
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Polartec-Kometa riders in the 2018 team kit on the first day of the training camp.

Polartec-Kometa riders in the 2018 team kit on the first day of the training camp. (Image credit: Pat Malach)
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Polartec-Kometa riders start the climb up Mt. Lemmon

Polartec-Kometa riders start the climb up Mt. Lemmon (Image credit: Pat Malach)
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Ivan Basso on the lower slopes of the 46km climb up Mt. Lemmon

Ivan Basso on the lower slopes of the 46km climb up Mt. Lemmon (Image credit: Pat Malach)
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A camp guest jokes with Alberto Contador as they make their way up Mt. Lemmon

A camp guest jokes with Alberto Contador as they make their way up Mt. Lemmon (Image credit: Pat Malach)
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Polcartec-Kometa riders are joined by Ivan Basso and an enthusiastic Tucson local

Polcartec-Kometa riders are joined by Ivan Basso and an enthusiastic Tucson local (Image credit: Pat Malach)
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Polartec-Kometa riders get a snack as they climb up Mt. Lemmon outside of Tucson

Polartec-Kometa riders get a snack as they climb up Mt. Lemmon outside of Tucson (Image credit: Pat Malach)
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Ivan Basso tests his retirement legs on the slops of Mt. Lemmon

Ivan Basso tests his retirement legs on the slops of Mt. Lemmon (Image credit: Pat Malach)
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Riders check their phones at the top of Mt. Lemmon

Riders check their phones at the top of Mt. Lemmon (Image credit: Pat Malach)

The Polartec-Kometa Continental team run by the Alberto Contador Foundation closed out its Tucson, Arizona, training camp on Sunday with an ascent of Mt. Lemmon, the southwestern town's iconic 46km climb that gains more than 2,100 metres at an average grade of 4.3 per cent.

Contador himself tackled the climb, along with the team, foundation staff and guests from the US and Europe who had been invited to the camp. The two-time Tour de France winner struck fear in some hearts when he went to the front at the climb's base to set the pace, but he eventually dropped off the lead group to help some struggling riders back up to the bunch, yo-yoing between the front and back with the ease one would expect from a recently retired 15-year pro.

Polartec-Kometa is the next step for Contador's foundation, which already operates a cycling school for children, a junior team and an Under-23 team. The new Continental team will serve as a feeder program for Trek-Segafredo. Polartec-Kometa's 11-rider roster includes four Spaniards, two riders from Italy and one rider each from Austria, Eritrea, Netherlands, Colombia and Luxembourg.

Polartec, a US-based textile manufacturer whose business includes working with multiple cycling apparel companies, brought the team to Arizona to provide some opportunities for team and staff bonding, and, as Polartec CEO Gary Smith said, "To have a fun experience."

The team took on a ride through the desert on Friday, a trip through the Saguaro National Park on Saturday, and the assault of Mt. Lemmon on Sunday. The team and staff will now return to Spain and Italy for more training camps before starting competition in February.