Alberto Contador has been training hard and testing his new Specialized bikes at the Astana training camp in Calpe, Spain.
The 2009 Tour de France winner rode for 210km in six and half hours on Monday with his teammates, tackling the well-known Finestrat climb.
Allan Davis and Oscar Pereiro are leading the Astana team at the Tour Down Under but the rest of the team, including Alexandre Vinokourov, are all at the Calpe camp that runs until Sunday. Italian directeur sportif Giuseppe Martinelli was in the Astana team car.
At the weekend Contador officially opened a bike path along the Alicante coast and then tested his new Specialized time trial bike and tweaked his position. The new blue, white and yellow Astana jersey stands out but does seem to be one of the better designed jerseys in the peloton. Contador likes it.
“They’ve taken away some of the colors, like the navy blue, and the white and gold are more predominant. I think it’s a jersey that people are really going to like,” he said.
Contador will hold a press conference in Calpe on Wednesday. He will begin his season at the Volta ao Algarve (Feb 17-21) before targeting Paris-Nice (March 7-14). He will also ride the Volta a Catalunya (March 22-28), where is he likely to race against Lance Armstrong for the first time since their bitter divorce at last year’s Tour de France.
Contador won the Tour ao Algarve in 2009 but has played down his chances this year.
“It’s true that last year I got the victory, but this year I don’t think that I’ll reach the same level as last year, but it’ll be a good warm-up for the rest of the races,” Contador said.
“I’ve had to fit training in around some commitments, and well, the winter that we’re having this year in Europe and in my area in particular… I don’t remember anything this bad. It’s difficult to get out training, but the truth is, I’m feeling really good and, comparing the data with other years, I think that things are going pretty well.”