Indurain respects Contador's decision to skip Worlds

As the debate over Alberto Contador's absence from Spain's World Championships line-up rumbles on, Miguel Indurain has said that the Madrileño's decision not to race there "must be respected."

Whilst his stellar racing record makes the five-times Tour champion a voice of authority in the sport, Indurain's words have added weight given he is Honorary President of the Ponferrada World Championships.

"He's not coming and he'll know why, whether it's because of what the circuit is like or whatever," Indurain told local newspaper Diario de León on Sunday.

"We have to respect his decision because wherever he goes, Contador always tries to do things in the best way possible and he's shown that over the last few years."

"I don't know why he's not here, but if he isn't then it's because he isn't sure of his options and I think we've got good alternatives that mean his absence won't be noted."

With Contador missing from the World's action, in the men's road-race Spain will be largely built around Alejandro Valverde, five times a podium finisher since he took silver in Hamilton in 2003 but never a gold medallist.

After ruling himself out of the World's, Contador will now focus on the end of the season, with Il Lombardia and the Tour of Beijing possible targets on his schedule.

Himself a former World time trial champion and a multiple medallist in the road race with a bronze and two silvers, Indurain recognised that "winning a World Championships is complicated, and to take it on home soil is doubly challenging."

Indurain also told Diario de León that his first Tour was the high point of his career, whilst the race he regretted not winning the most was the Vuelta: "I rode it seven times and it [victory] always eluded me."

As for the World Championships themselves, Indurain said, "We're hoping to see a great show...I hope I can enjoy my sport and the top riders who are going to be here in Ponferrada."

"In Spain we've got good riders, but what perhaps we're lacking is in sponsors and teams that give places to all the great riders we've got in the lower categories. Let's see if with events like this we can see some new teams, too."

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Alasdair Fotheringham

Alasdair Fotheringham has been reporting on cycling since 1991. He has covered every Tour de France since 1992 bar one, as well as numerous other bike races of all shapes and sizes, ranging from the Olympic Games in 2008 to the now sadly defunct Subida a Urkiola hill climb in Spain. As well as working for Cyclingnews, he has also written for The IndependentThe GuardianProCycling, The Express and Reuters.