Contador’s inclusion on Tinkoff-Saxo’s long list for the race, published on Tuesday, briefly stoked speculation that he might yet be able to participate, but his press officer Jacinto Vidarte confirmed to Cyclingnews that he will not be on the start line in Jerez on August 23.
“There is no change between yesterday and today: there is no possibility that Alberto can ride the Vuelta,” Vidarte said.
Indeed, Contador had himself conceded as much via social media last week, although manager Bjarne Riis refused to discount the Spaniard’s chances completely at the end of the Tour, saying: “Let’s see in a week.”
His subsequent inclusion on Tinkoff-Saxo’s 15-man pre-selection – which also includes the suspended Roman Kreuziger – suggested that Riis still held out hope. However Vidarte said that Contador’s name had simply not been removed from the original long list.
“You name fifteen riders in the pre-selection and, of course, Alberto was supposed to be in the team before his injury so that’s why his name is there now,” Vidarte explained.
Contador did not have to undergo surgery on his fractured tibia, which originally seemed to increase his chances of being able to line up at the Vuelta. But three weeks on from his crash on the descent of the Petit Ballon, Contador has yet to resume training on the road. On August 3 Contador tweeted data from his power meter indicating he crashed at 76.8km/h.
“He is doing a little riding on the trainer but only with his good leg,” Vidarte said. “There is still pain in his right leg, so while he is doing something, he is not training.”
It remains to be seen whether the 31-year-old manages to return to competitive action at all before the end of the current season.
“We don’t know yet when he’ll be back. We have no plans, but the Vuelta is discarded,” Vidarte said. “We don’t know where he can compete. Maybe in some of the Italian races before the end of the season but it’s too early to say right now.”
While Contador will miss the Vuelta, his fellow Tour crash victims Chris Froome (Sky) and Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Sharp) look set to compete, as well as Giro d’Italia podium finishers Nairo Quintana (Movistar), Fabio Aru (Astana) and Rigoberto Uran (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), and defending champion Chris Horner (Lampre-Merida).
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