"If Froome is here, it’s because he wants to win," Contador told Spanish newspaper MARCA on Tuesday. "Last year he already showed that he only went to races if he could win them."
"Ok, he couldn't do Tirreno-Adriatico" - because of a lower back injury - "but a little while back he said he’d been training hard and I'm sure he’s totally concentrated on getting the overall win. On top of that, he’s got a really good team with him for the mountain stages. I'm sure he’s come here thinking of winning."
Contador - together with Froome and Nairo Quintana (Movistar) are the top favourite for the Catalan race - was more conservative about his own chances. Speaking in the third person singular when asked if "Alberto Contador was here to win too?" he replied, "no, Alberto's come here to take things day by day, even if he'll fight to win, he's very aware the best riders in the international peloton are taking part, and they all want to win too. What I can guarantee is that this will be a very exciting race."
Contador himself has said he has eased back considerably in the last week after Tirreno-Adriatico, doing a minimum of training given he completed the Italian race -which he won with two spectacular stage wins - feeling more tired than he had expected.
"Every race is different," he insisted, when asked by MARCA if fans should expect a similar performance to his dominating rides in the mountains in the 'Race of Two Seas.' "You start from zero all over again. On paper, I've got good form, but I want to see how I've recovered from Tirreno first and there are many more rivals here, some in better form, some in worse. It takes time to sort out exactly where you slot in."
Contador says he does not know the first uphill finish, La Molina on Wednesday, and that he’ll be taking things day by day "at least until Thursday"- and the major mountain stage of Valter. But with no time trial, a complex route, time bonuses (except in the mountain top finishes) and a very tricky final stage through the Montjuic Park on Sunday, as Contador points out "this will be a very open, unpredictable Volta."
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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