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Giro win softens Contador's Tour anger

Alberto Contador (Astana)

Alberto Contador (Astana) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Alberto Contador (Astana) isn't as angry about being denied the chance to defend his Tour de France victory this July, having claimed May's Giro d'Italia. The Spaniard's tactics in Italy saw the last-minute invitees play their underdog status to a race-winning position.

Contador spent most of the first week under a cloud of uncertainty, with fears of a fractured elbow bringing his Giro to an end. The day after the squad aired its concerns over the Spaniard's campaign, Contador exploded into the race lead on the first individual time trial and held the leader's jersey through to the finish in Milano.

"I am not so angry anymore that I can't take part in the Tour," Contador explained to Sporza. "Otherwise I never would have been able to ride the Giro and the Vuelta this year.

The organisers of the Tour de France, ASO, decided against allowing the Astana team to start the 2008 edition of the Tour. The decision followed the embarrassment brought upon last year's Tour when Astana - under a completely different management arrangement - had its star rider Alexandre Vinokourov test positive, which led to the team being thrown off the event. While ASO has said the squad will be considered for next year's Tour, it wants to give the squad a year to prove itself under the new management.

While Contador might be forced to watch the Tour from home, the youngster's Grand Tour campaign for 2008 is far from over. The Spanish rider hopes to win his home Grand Tour, the Vuelta a España, in August and September.

"I will do everything possible to win the Vuelta in September, but everyone has to realise that I can't win everything," he said.

The Giro winner was in Madrid celebrating his win with thousands of supporters. The 25 year-old was also honoured by the Mayor, who presented him with flowers.

Should Contador win the Vuelta, he will become only the fifth rider to win all three Grand Tours. Jacques Anquetil, Bernard Hinault, Felice Gimondi and Eddy Merckx are the only four to have done so.

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