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"Today and for the next two years I am a Tinkoff-Saxo rider. It is a team that suits me 100%. At the moment, I am not looking for a new team. I think I am in the best place," Contador tells Cadena Ser

Photo: Sirotti

ALBERTO CONTADOR

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NEWS

FERNANDO ALONSO

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JOAQUIM RODRIGUEZ OLIVER

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03.01.2014 @ 13:54 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Alberto Contador and Joaquim Rodriguez have both been linked with the new Fernando Alonso team which will be created for the 2015 season. However, both have a contract for the next two years with their current teams and both have now denied that they will be part of the new team in its first year of existence.

 

After a difficult off-season that has seen five professional teams fold, things are set to improve for the 2015 season. The major innovation will be the new Spanish team created by Fernando Alonso which is set to make its debut right at the top level of the sport.

 

The new team will mark a turnaround for Spanish cycling which has seen its cycling scene decay due to the economic crisis. In 2014, there will only be two professional teams in the country that has dominated the WorldTour rankings in recent years.

 

Of course, Fernando Alonso would love to have some of Spain's major stars on his team and the country has some of the greatest grand tour riders in its ranks. Alberto Contador and Joaquim Rodriguez have both finished on grand tour podiums and would be obvious captain candidates for the new team.

 

The Contador rumours got even more intense when Oleg Tinkov bought his Tinkoff-Saxo team. During this year's Tour de France, the Russian was highly critical of Contador's performances and it is no secret that the pair have a strained relationship.

 

However, Alonso has also been keen to stress that he will not try to sign riders who have an existing contract, and this is likely to prevent Contador and Rodriguez to join the team in its first year. Both have contracts with their current teams for the 2015 season and yesterday they both stressed that they are likel to remain where they are for the next two years.

 

"Today and for the next two years I am a Tinkoff-Saxo rider," Contador told Cadena Ser. "It is a team that suits me 100%. At the moment, I am not looking for a new team. I think I am in the best place."

 

Contador refused to completely rule out a move and was keen to point out that he is happy to see his close friend revive Spanish cycling.

 

"Yes, it is true that in sport thousand things can happen and you never know," he said. "It is a project that motivates me. Who knows where I will be in the future but the big news is that it is going to be a great team and we have to celebrate that."

 

Contador also confirmed his race schedule that will see him make his debut in the Volta ao Algarve. He will then make a return to the Paris-Nice which he has won twice in the past, after doing the Tirreno-Adriatico in 2013. The Volta a Catalunya and the Vuelta al Pais Vasco will be his final races in the spring before he starts his build-up for his major targets, the Tour de France and the Vuelta a Espana.

 

Again he was keen to stress that he has put his problems with Tinkov behind him.

 

"Bjarne (Riis) makes all decisions on a sporting level. The relationship (with Tinkov) is phenomenal. We all work in the same direction, the rest is history," he said before adding that Chris Froome is "the favourite" to win this year's Tour.

 

Rodriguez inspired by the new project

In an interview with Cadena Cope, Rodriguez was asked about his relationship with Alonso with whom he visited a racing track last year. While he pointed out that he intended to fulfil his contract and that a move to the new team would be complicated, he couldn't hide that he is attracted by the new project.

 

"It would involve too many things," he said. "Who would not want to return to a Spanish team which will be as good as the best teams and will be innovative?"

 

Rodriguez also repeated that he will go back to his 2012 program, again focusing on the Giro-Vuelta double after doing the Tour de France in 2013. With podium places in all three grand tours on his palmares, the Katusha leader is now riding to win a three-week race.

 

"I will repeat the 2012 schedule as it ended up being a pretty good year," he said. "I was close to winning the Giro and the Vuelta. That's why I want to repeat it because they are races that I like very much and possible the ones that are most suited to my characteristics as a climber."

 

This year's Tour de France route has been described as rather mountainous but it also includes a long, mostly flat time trial on the penultimate day. Furthermore, the opening week contains the feared cobbles from Paris-Roubaix and several stressful, nervous stages.

 

The course is the main reason for Rodriguez' decision not to return to the French grand tour.

 

"The route for the Tour is not a good one and I do not think that I will be able to finish on the podium," he said. "It would be a step back and I can't afford that."

 

Rodriguez will start his season later this month in the Tour de San Luis.

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