Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff) has admitted that he will be happy to see the back of a 2013 season in which he has landed just a single victory and fell short of the podium at his major objective, the Tour de France. The Spaniard lines up for his final race of the campaign at the Tour of Lombardy on Sunday, but he said that he was already looking ahead to next year.
“I consider Il Lombardia to be my first race of 2014,” Contador told Gazzetta dello Sport. “I want to shelve this 2013 season as soon as possible. It’s been a strange season. It began with some errors in my race programme and then it continued with too many commitments.
“I’ll give you an example. The week after Lombardy, I have a lot of commitments with sponsors – on Monday, I’ll be in Monza, Tuesday in Zurich, Wednesday in Madrid, Thursday in Paris and Friday in London. More like a ping pong ball than a cyclist.”
Contador has already confirmed that he will not participate in the Tour de San Luis next January, so as to arrive fresher at the Tour de France. Even allowing for his heavy early-season race programme and off-the-bike commitments this year, however, he still reached July convinced that he was on the right track to challenge for the yellow jersey.
“In spite of that, I trained very well for the Tour,” Contador said. “The tests told me that I was in great form and I was doing my best-ever times on climbs I use as a reference. But as soon as I arrived in Corsica, my sensations were different. Who knows what happened to me.”
Looking ahead to the Tour of Lombardy, Contador expects some of the main protagonists from last week’s world championships road race to be to the fore again, and predicts that the final climb – just 9km from the finish in Lecco – will prove decisive.
“The race will definitely be decided on Villa Vergano,” he said. “That’s a hill for pure climbers who are very explosive. I can see Purito [Joaquim Rodriguez], [Alejandro] Valverde or [Rigoberto] Uran doing well.”