Contador re-focuses on Olympics and Vuelta

Contador will not be able to defend his 2007 Tour de France title this year

Contador will not be able to defend his 2007 Tour de France title this year (Image credit: AFP)

Team Astana's Alberto Contador is trying to get beyond his squad's exclusion from the 2008 Tour de France. Currently racing the Vuelta a Murcia, the 2007 Tour winner doesn't have a choice but to find new objectives for this season – amongst which the Olympic Games and the Vuelta a España.

"I try not to think about my exclusion of the Tour too much these days – to the contrary, I think that the best races are the ones I'm in, for instance the Vuelta a Murcia," Contador told Marca's Josu Garai. "I will probably feel less good about it further along in the season, but right now – except for Paris-Nice, which I swapped with the Vuelta a Murcia – I'm sticking to my objectives.

"The alternatives to the Tour, as everybody knows, are the Olympic Games, if the national coach decides to count on me, and probably the Vuelta a España," he continued. "But in my situation, all the races are important."

Contador also did not believe that the Tour de France organiser ASO would re-assess his team and allow them to enter the race. "I think that would be complicated, even with the support of all the other riders and the fans... I see maybe a 0.5 percent chance that the Tour reconsiders its decision, and that's being optimistic."

Asked if he really did think he could do a good cycling season without racing in the Tour, the young Spaniard replied, "Well... it's possible, even if, for a rider like me, having won the Tour, the logical objective is to try and defend that tile. But as I can't do that, I don't have any choice but to find other goals."

Still, Contador insisted he didn't regret having signed with the Astana team, which will be boycotted by the Tour organiser for having had major doping problems in the last two seasons. "I don't regret anything. The team showed me a new project; I saw that everything was different, that they included an internal anti-doping system and so I enrolled with them. Everything was so serious and professional that it appeared to me to be safer to sign with them than with other teams. Now, I can't regret something that I thought about so intensively."

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