Alberto Contador's (Saxo Bank) participation in the 2012 Tour de France is far from certain but the Spanish rider nevertheless attended the route unveiling in Paris and made clear his intention to win a fourth title.
The Spaniard is awaiting the ruling from CAS on his clenbuterol positive from the 2010 race, but at the 2012 unveiling he picked Cadel Evans as his initial favourite.
"It will be a race in which you have to attack, which is not a bad thing. It will all be decided in the mountains.
"This is a course that favors the winner of last year, Cadel Evans," said Contador.
"I like the route, but of course it is not the best for me maybe it is better for Cadel Evans, it is more for the riders that go very strong in the time trials and for me maybe I need to attack before the time trials."
The Spaniard then backtracked, remembering that during the first of his Tour wins in 2007 the route favoured time trialists. That year he beat Evans into second place before going on to win another two Tours in 2009 and 2010.
"I will try to take advantage of the type of terrain to make a difference. There will be riders like the Schleck brothers, for example who will try to make a difference before we get to the final time trial. This profile is not really for a climber but more for a more complete rider, as well as specialist against the clock. In 2007, there were almost 120 kilometers against the clock."
If Contador is cleared to ride at next month's CAS hearing then he will head to Tour de France as Evans's most likely challenger. Despite a disappointing Tour in 2011, he won the Giro d'Italia in a dominant fashion. Having already confirmed that the Giro will disappear from his schedule the Saxo Bank rider will be looking to resume his dominance in the Tour de France.
That doesn't mean Contador will only one Grand Tour next season. The Spaniard admitted that he may head to the Vuelta in August. His last and only participation came in 2008 and ended with overall victory.
"It is possible that I run the Tour de France and Spain but I'm not sure yet. I will not go to the Giro even if the course is good because this year I want to focus on the Tour. I'm not going to the Tour for revenge though. I'm going to ride and we'll see."
Saxo Bank's team manager Bjarne Riis appeared comfortable with the parcours telling Cyclingnews that the number of time trial kilometers could suit Contador.
"I'm happy with the route and the time trials. There's a nice start but it will be very exciting. Every Tour is different though and it's the riders that really make it. Contador is definitely one of the favourites. He's won the Tour de France three times. Cadel Evans is the last winner, so he might be the biggest favourite."
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Daniel Benson is the Editor in Chief at both Cyclingnews.com and BikePerfect.com. Based in the UK, he has worked within cycling for almost 15 years, and he joined the Cyclingnews team in 2008 as the site's first UK-based Managing Editor. In that time, he has reported on over a dozen editions of the Tour de France, several World Championships, the Tour Down Under, Spring Classics, and the London 2012 Olympic Games. With the help of the excellent editorial team, he runs the coverage on Cyclingnews and has interviewed leading figures in the sport including UCI Presidents and Tour de France winners.
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