Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) closed out a two-week training camp at altitude on Tenerife, where he trained with four of his Tour de France teammates: André Cardoso, Michael Gogl, Matthias Brändle and Fabio Felline. The Spaniard said he is taking a much more conservative approach to his preparation for the Tour this year, aiming to optimize his form but limit his level of fatigue.
"I'm being super conservative in this training camp," Contador said in a Trek-Segafredo video blog. "I'm thinking completely about arriving at the Tour with the best condition, being fresh, not arriving with fatigue, because it's very easy to do too much work here, overtraining yourself and not letting the body recover. That is perhaps the main difference from other years."
Contador arrived at the strategy after last year's disastrous Tour – where he crashed in the first two stages then abandoned on stage 9. In 2015, he finished a disappointed fifth in an unsuccessful attempt for a second Grand Tour win after his Giro d'Italia triumph.
After some tumultuous years under Oleg Tinkov, his first season with Trek-Segafredo is all about 'tranquilo', including his camp in Tenerife.
"Tenerife is an ideal place to work," Contador said. "There's the altititude, we are about 2300m, but other than that, being here allows you to be calmly centered on the bike, optimizing the time, not only the training time but also the rest, having a good diet, and being dedicated 24 hours a day to the bicycle.
"It gives me a tranquility, peace, and confidence that later in competition is very, very important."
From Tenerife, Contador will have a brief stopover at home before heading to Saint-Etienne for the start of the Criterium du Dauphine, and once there will continue to be cautious with his efforts.
"At the Dauphine, I want to get the first bit of intensity before the Tour," he said. "I'm sure I'm going to be a bit at the limit. That's why I want to come into the race calm, and to take advantage of it only to pick up racing rhythm.
"If I see that I am too tight, I'll slow down, although it's difficult for me, but it's what I have in mind. Since November, it is something I have been putting in my head, because I think it will be the smartest way to face the Tour de France."
After the Dauphine, Contador will analyze his performance there and top off whatever he needs in a second training camp. "I'll include more tempo, more intensity, or, depending, more calm in approaching the Tour de France," he said.
"In the end, the only thing I'm worried about is being healthy, and arriving to the start of the Tour de France in optimal condition. Every year cycling is more mathematical, but fortunately it is still not entirely mathematics and depends many times on training and also the feeling and how you know your body to arrive in optimal condition."