Alberto Contador (Tinkoff Saxo) may have waved his participation in next month's Vuelta a España goodbye, but his team boss Bjarne Riis moved to keep the door open by insisting that more time is needed before a final decision can be made.
Contador crashed out of this year's Tour de France and was diagnosed with a fractured tibia. Although he avoided the need for surgery due to a clean break of the bone the Spaniard set himself the lofty goal of competing in the Vuelta a Espana. Real Madrid's medical staff were consulted and all looked on course before Alberto Contador took to Twitter on Wednesday morning, stating that his wounds were failing to heal in time and that the Vuelta was off the table.
By the afternoon as Rafal Majka sealed Tinkoff Saxo's third stage win in the race so far, Riis was in slightly more optimistic mood than his Spanish star.
"I think it's a little bit early to say. He knows that it's going to be difficult but lets wait and see. He had a bad day, his wounds are not healing and he's had some problems. Of course he's pessimistic and I understand that but let's see in a week."
Contador has not yet returned to riding and was set to take another week off the bike. Yesterday Riis told Cyclingnews that caution was required and he seemed to reiterate that stance once again.
"We have to wait and see. There's still a long way to go and a lot of healing needed so I don't want to get into speculation and at the end of the day that's all it is at the moment. He's the guy feeling the pain and maybe in a few days it will be better."
The incentive may be to rush Contador back to racing sooner than he's ready, especially given both his Tour de France fortune and his early season dominance in a number of stage races. However Riis stressed that no corners would be cut.
"I'm not going to risk anything on him. The focus is on the moment we're on now. There's a focus on next year too but there's a long way to go until then. I hope he races again this year though. It will be a shame if he doesn't."