Alberto Contador has revealed he plans to finish his professional racing career at the top of his game, “winning my last ever race. I don’t refer to a small stage race, either, but winning a big one. To be specific, the Tour de France.”
Contador celebrated his 32nd birthday on December 6 and admitted that he will not ace beyond the age of 35.
“I’m in great shape, this year has been the best of my career,” Contador told Spanish sports daily Marca. “But the years are going by. And although I may not be exhausted mentally or physically, my aim to is to retire at the highest level and winning my last ever race.”
Contador’s contract with Tinkoff-Saxo ends in 2015, but although he believes he will continue for another two years, he does not rule out quitting, according to Marca.
“I believe that I won’t reach 35 in this sport,” he says. “At most I have one contract left [as a pro rider] to sign,” Contador said.
Regarding 2016 and which team he might sign for, Contador explained: “I have various options, either to renew my contract and some other offers. But I feel very calm about that. I need more time to decide, not because the offers are bad - in fact, they couldn’t be better. But I don’t know when I’ll decide.”
Contador seems uncertain about what he will do in his life after his racing career. But he is convinced, he says, that “the future of Spanish cycling” lies in organisations like his Foundation, which has both amateur and junior teams in events across both the Spanish calendar and further afield. In Spain, where sponsors have been pulling out of cycling in large numbers in recent years, backers like Contador are becoming increasingly rare.
“Everybody is asking what will happen when I, Purito [Joaquim Rodriguez - Katusha] and Alejandro [Valverde - Movistar] retire. We have to recognise that it will be difficult to remain where we [the Spanish] are in world cycling, winning all sorts of [UCI WorldTour] classifications,” Contador said.
“But I am certain that the Foundation will produce some great riders. There’s no [financial] profit [for me] at all, and we have to spend a lot of time and money in it. But it’s worth it to see how young riders are being created for the future, both as cyclists and as people.”
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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