Alberto Contador will headline the Tinkoff team at the Vuelta a Burgos this week as he continues his preparation for the Vuelta a Espana. Contador will be joined in the line-up by his right-hand man Jesus Hernandez and British national champion Adam Blythe.
This will be Contador's first appearance in the five-day stage race. He is trying to get his season back on track after abandoning the Tour de France in the first week due to injuries sustained on the opening stage. He had been one of the favourites going into the race but suffered badly after the crash and lost over three minutes in the overall classification plus a sizeable gap he gave away on stage 9 before he retired midway through the stage.
Following his abandon, Contador took himself out of Olympic selection to focus on his recovery and prepare for the Vuelta a Espana. Contador has won the Vuelta three times, in 2008, 2012 and 2014.
Last month, Cyclingnews confirmed that the Spaniard would return to racing at the Clasica San Sebastian followed by the Vuelta a Burgos. Contador raced San Sebastian on Saturday, finishing in a small group almost two minutes down on winner Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo). With Contador's injury and form in mind, the team is not going all in for the overall classification and will look to others to share the Spaniard's load. As well as Hernandez, Contador will find support in Sergio Paulinho, Ivan Rovny and Yuri Trofimov. Completing the team will by Blythe, Jay McCarthy and Michael Gogl, who recently finished fourth overall at the Tour of Denmark.
"For Alberto, he comes here from injury, so we have to see how he is. We will focus on bringing him through the race in a good way, and we will see how he recovers from San Sebastian and go from there," said directeur sportif Ivan Basso.
"For the other riders, it's a good race to take their opportunities for results. We will see day-by-day who can do what. In this race, I think you can get your own results, which is important for the riders. I want to see the Tinkoff spirit, which is in our DNA, to see the team fighting, motivated, committed and working hard in the race."
The Vuelta a Burgos begins on Tuesday, August 2 with a 158km sprint stage from Sasamón to Malgar de Fernamental. It will come to a close on Saturday with a summit finish at Lagunas de Neila, where the race finished last season. Astana's Rein Taaramae is the defending champion after he beat teammate Michele Scarponi by two seconds.
Tinkoff Team for the Vuelta a Burgos: Alberto Contador, Adam Blythe, Jesus Hernandez, Sergio Paulinho, Ivan Rovny, Yuri Trofimov, Jay McCarthy and Michael Gogl.