Alberto Contador has appeared today at a press conference before the start of the Tour of Spain in which he said that his expectations are very cautious, “after what happened to me and how little I’ve been training before coming here. Of course I will not try to lose time in the first days, only if someday I lose time, will be time to change strategy. This year the Vuelta has a very high level and many riders come to fight for the win, but I’m at a very different level to the Tour”, said the leader of Tinkoff-Saxo.
Are you afraid that can be an ambush against you to take advantage of your lack of preparation?
‘More than an ambush against me, will be the race itself that can produce complicated situations. At the Vuelta start very soon the up hill finishes, already in third and fifth stages are hard finals that are very good for explosive riders like Valverde or Purito. It is likely that there can not be with them.
-If you pass the first ten days without losing time, yours rivals should start worrying?
-No, it’s not a matter of passing the first ten days, but rather to see how I can recover because here the level is very high and although I have trained a few days, I tried to do the maximum and for that I am perhaps a little more tired than other times. You never know what the response of your body can be, but if after 10 days I’m still in front, it will be good news especially for me, because I think some people will be stronger.
-What have told you the doctors, it is advisable to run the Tour of Spain?
-It’s a risk. The best thing would have been stay at home and think about next year, but for me it was very difficult to see the Tour on TV because I had prepared it very well and also had a special illusion for doing the Vuelta. That’s why I’m here. Dr. Manuel Leyes, who has treated my injury, recommended me a final MRI before coming here, but I said I did not have much time available and also not going to change my decision whatever the result. Anyway I hope that ride the Vuelta will have not bad consequences, and in any case, I feel every day little better.
-Is the Vuelta a new opportunity for you?
-No, it’s not that. I’m thrilled with the season I made until the Tour. It was a flawless season and I arrived to the Tour in optimum condition. Now what I want is to enjoy the race and see what I get, but nothing more.
-Who is the favorite and what stage can be the most important?
There are many riders with win option, but I think if he comes at hundred percent, Froome is the favorite is because he has a very strong team and because he is very strong in the mountains and in time trial. As for the stages, with the format of the Vuelta, all stages are important. There are some with chained mountain pass, but in 2012 an apparent stage of transition changed the whole race. I cannot point to any particular stage.
-In the Tour you had a great preparation and a very strong team, how is the team for the Vuelta?
-It’s true that in the Tour we wanted to have the strongest possible team to control the race if we got the leader, but in the Vuelta, although we haven’t riders like Roche, Rogers or Majka, also have a very strong team for flat stages and a group of climbers that can do very well, this time the team is the least of my worries, because I do not feel the pressure to control the race. I think I am not prepared to fight for victory and instead there are others who are.
-How have been these six weeks since the crash in the Tour up to the start in the Vuelta, when you thought you could run it?
I have gone through different moments. Until the tenth day, when they first put out the stitches in a somewhat hasty decision, and the wound reopened , it didn’t look too good, because I had to start again from the beginning. Thanks to the team of CEMTRO Clinic, that treated me, returned to stitch the wound and cleaned it of the dirt that had remained into after the first surgery, all evolved rapidly. The work of the team physios, the use of Indiba and Compex sistems and that I tried to do the utmost at the moment I’ve had some knee mobility to return to the bike, all that has been done that can be here, though perhaps with a little more delay than I expected, which is why there is a question mark in my performance for the coming days.
(Automatic translation. Forgive inaccuracies).