Contador looks forward to difficult 2015 Tour de France
"I like it, it's a tough and spectacular Tour"
Alberto Contador has no doubts about the 2015 Tour de France. "I like this Tour, it is harder than last year's and will require me to recover well after the Giro d'Italia, but I will prepare for it thoroughly," he said.
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His Tinkoff-Saxo team manager Bjarne Riis called the course, presented today in Paris, "good for us. I like it, it is a tough and spectacular Tour."
The race opens with a series of stages in Belgium and northern France, where Contador said, "we must to be strong in the two uphill finishes, because although they are short, sometimes there are more differences there than in long climbs. It will be very important to have a strong team to protect me, especially in the cobblestone stage, which will be difficult.
"In general, it is a Tour that you need to arrive fresh at the end but also to start in good shape, because it is very demanding at first," added Contador, who won the race in 2007 and 2009.
A 28-kilometer team time trial finishes off the first part of the Tour, "in which it will be important not to have lost riders to crashes or illness because a stage like this is not the same if you have the whole team or have two riders less," Contador said.
"The key to this first part will be to go out without losing time, as it will also be in the mountain, as we face a particularly hilly and demanding Tour because of so many uphill finishes."
From there the race heads to the Pyrenees, where the finishes "will be very important, like the one in Mende, a finish that I know well and in which, despite being short, there will be time differences," he said.
Recovery will be very important there, with the Alps still to come. "It will be very complicated in case you have to defend the lead, although they give many tactical possibilities in case you have to attack."
Riis added that he hopes the team "will perform well in the TTT. The first week will be very demanding and stressful." He applauded the inclusion of cobbles, "because this year it was a very interesting stage, but I hope it does not rain that day.
"I like this course," he said. "It demands that you have a strong team and not having a long time trial is also good for us. I don't think the Tour has to be always the same.
"The Pyrenees and the Alps will be very hard and that will make for a spectacular race: we need to have a spectacular race and I think that's a good change."
Earlier this month Oleg Tinkov, the owner of Tinkoff-Saxo was prepared to offer €1 million to Contador and his Grand Tour rivals if they will compete in all three Grand Tours in 2015. Contador has confirmed that he will compete in both the Giro d'Italia and the Tour next year.
Following the presentation of the 2015 Tour de France Tinkov posted on Twitter, "I'm confident that @albertocontador could win both #Giro and #TDF2015. It suits him very well. However, there is a hard and long preparation"
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By Josh Croxton