Contador takes on Froome and Valverde at Volta a Catalunya

Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) continues to chase his first victory of the season against some formidable rivals at the Volta a Catalunya that starts Monday.

Second in Paris-Nice by the agonisingly small margin of two seconds to Sergio Henao (Team Sky), and second by just one second at the Ruta del Sol to Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team), means Contador has not won a race since last summer's Vuelta a Burgos.

Contador lost last year's Volta a Catalunya by just seven seconds to Nairo Quintana (Movistar). The Colombian is not defending his win but Valverde and Dan Martin (Quick-Step Floors), who took third in the Volta last year, will be present. Also in action and sure to challenge Contador, are Chris Froome (Team Sky), Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha-Alpecin), Tejay van Garderen (BMC) and Romain Bardet (AG2R-La Mondiale).

Contador finished fourth in the Volta in 2015 and second in 2014 behind Joaquim Rodriguez. He is determined to look for victory in a race featuring a 41km team time trial on Tuesday and two summit finishes on Wednesday and Friday.

"My condition is the same, as good as it has been up to now," the 34-year old told Cyclingnews on the eve of the Volta's first stage.

"I've spent my time since Paris-Nice recovering because it was one of the toughest I remember in recent times. I was in good shape there and I'm sure I'll be in good shape here."

The team time trial, the longest in the Volta a Catalunya since a 42-kilometre stage in 1963, will be decisive in Contador's eyes.

"It's fundamental. When I saw the race route, it immediately struck me as hugely important. If you add up my three previous Voltas I've lost them by less than 20 seconds, and this time the time differences between the top racers will be a lot larger on one stage alone."

"The fundamental thing is to do the best team time trial we possibly can, gain as much time as we can on the rivals and if we lose time, then as little as possible. After that we'll see what we can do in the rest of the race. But the TTT is going to be very important."

Contador will share team leadership at Trek-Segafredo with Bauke Mollema, knowing that both are on form after recent stage races.

"It'll be similar to Abu Dhabi. He's done a lot of good work in Tirreno [finishing ninth overall - ed], I've done the same in Paris-Nice, and then in this race there are a heck of a lot of good GC contenders. So having two cards to play in the general is the most important thing of all, it's a huge advantage," Contador explained.

Thank you for reading 5 articles in the past 30 days*

Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read any 5 articles for free in each 30-day period, this automatically resets

After your trial you will be billed £4.99 $7.99 €5.99 per month, cancel anytime. Or sign up for one year for just £49 $79 €59

Join now for unlimited access

Try your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1