Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Alberto Contador starts his approach to the Tour
Alberto Contador has been enjoying R&R since his triumph in the Vuelta al País Vasco in mid-April, but as of Monday, May 4, he’s back with nose to the grindstone. “In all this time I’ve only done six days of very quiet training, and the in last seven days I’ve haven’t touched the bike,” said Contador.
“I’m coming back refreshed but I notice that my level of form has dipped, although this was precisely what I looked for, because I’d done a significant amount of work,” said the rider in reference to the first part of the season. “Now I’m going to increase training days bit by bit, to get the feelings back and prepare for the training camps that we’ve set.”
After an initial week of work in Pinto, Alberto will head for the mountains to train with teammates. “I’m going to go scout out the Pyrenees stages, because I like to memorize them before the Tour. I like to see the terrain I’ll be passing through in the key moments of the race,” he explained. After this first phase, he’ll go back to Pinto, and “later on, go do reconnaissance of the Alps stages.”
Contador will alternate periods of training at home with these camps until he returns to the peloton in the Dauphiné Libéré on June 7. And while he concentrates his thoughts and efforts on the Tour, the team, headed by Leipheimer and Armstrong, will take the start in the Giro d’Italia. “I’m going to be able to enjoy it from home, even though good memories from last year will make me feel a little nostalgic. This year my objective is the Tour…there’ll be a time for going back to Italy,” he said. “It’ll be a lovely Giro, with lots of very good riders fighting for victory. It’ll be quite interesting for the spectator.”
Credit for much of the interest surrounding this year’s Giro goes to the Astana Team, which Contador says is “a very strong group, very experienced, thanks to riders like Leipheimer, Chechu, Armstrong, Horner and Popovych. It’ll be one of the main players in the race.”
“Clearly there are many favorites and lots of complicated days where you could lose a great deal of time, but if I had to choose two riders, it would be Ivan Basso and Levi Leipheimer,” stated Contador. “There’s also Armstrong, Sastre, Cunego, DiLuca and many more who'll be in the fight, but if I had to bet, it would be on Basso and Leipheimer,” predicted Contador.
As for Lance Armstrong, Alberto thinks that he, too, will ride well in the Giro. “He’s arriving with confidence, after having done a good race in New Mexico, and with desire, after getting over the crash at Castilla y León. I think that he’ll be at a very high level, even though he might be a little short of battling for the overall. The Giro will be a very good tune-up for the Tour,” he concluded.