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"It could be my last Tour, indeed, but it is not 100% sure. If I fall off or if I have to abandon, I would come back in 2017, or if I manage to set up my own team outside of TInkoff, given my contract with them ends in 2016.”

Photo: Sirotti




20.10.2015 @ 14:48 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Something was missing at the Tour de France presentation earlier today. Alberto Contador was absent and missed the opportunity to see the course where he will battle for the win later this summer. "But I had a trip already planned this week for some time and it was impossible to cancel it," he tells El Pais in an interview. The 2016 race will be his ninth Tour and he has ridden into Paris with the yellow jersey thrice (even though he has been stripped of his 2010 win). Probably it wil even be his last Tour if he retires at the end of 2016.

However, he is now backtracking on that idea.


"It could be my last Tour, indeed, but it is not 100% sure," he said. “If I fall off or if I have to abandon, I would come back in 2017, or if I manage to set up my own team outside of TInkoff, given my contract with them ends in 2016.”


"I do not suffer from melancholy because I do not consider it as something decisive. Whether it is my last Tour or not, it is not something imposed by circumstances. It depends on me. And that freedom prevents you from feeling sorry.



"It's not something I want to talk about because it seems that everything revolves around it. Next year I will live the moment, without thinking about the next race or if it is the last. But, yes, I would like to end my career by ding a good Tour."



At the time of the interview, the course was not known but several rumours had been circulating.


"I know [the rumours] but am missing the details. The fundamental thing is to know how long the time trial will be. 40? 50? 60? Is it too flat?Will there be climbs? If it is hard, I am not scared. In 2013 I was very close to Froome in Embrun, but in Mont Saint Michel I had my worst day. But it's normal. It was a time trial of 54kph, and for a rider of 62 kilos it is impossible to develop the necessary absolute power. While my relative power is great for the mountains, absolute power makes it difficult for me. If it is a time trialwith an average of 48-49kph it will be good for me."


For the second year in a row, the race will visit the Pyrenees before the Alps like it did in 2009 when Contador won the race.



"That was my best Tour when it comes performance, not when it comes to the experience [he had a difficult relation with teammate LAnce Armstrong], but since then I have improved my level, no doubt. I say this based not only on feelings but also data. In 2014 the tests were much better than in 2009, but I crashed. The level of cycling, not just mine, is much higher than before. It has been professionalized there is optimized training, nutrition, biomechanics ... On a day that I'm not super, my tests are now similar to by best tests earlier.


"It is difficult to assess whether the course is good or bad for me. In all Toursm it is the same: you have to adapt to the course, not having bad days and to understand the others. Froome, for example, always starts very strong but is fading in the last wee. For Nairo, however, it takes more time to get going. I will seek to adapt and, as always, take every opportunity."


Contador was also asked to reflect on the recent Vuelta.


"I was very confident that Aru would win the Vuelta because we climb faster in the Giro than in the Tour except for when Froome made his attacks.the speed at which climb in the Giro were not all ports in the Tour than when Froome attacked. I have never experienced something like the rhythm and tempo in the Giro.



"I fear Aru more than Dumoulin. The Italian has finished in the top five in every grand tour he has done, and aside from winning the Vuelta, he has two podium finishes in the Giro. That is no coincidence. We have to see how he adapts to the Tour, where he is a debutant."



Next year Contador won't defend his title in the Giro.


"My season will will be different. 2015 has been very hard both physically and psychologically. There were 10 months in which I focused only on cycling. Everything was planned and I did not know how the body would respond. In 2011, for example, I was late, and I felt much better. In 2016 I will try to win races early in the season and then rest, thinking only of the Tour.


"And about the Olympics, of course. The circuit is hard and I like to test myself not only in the road race but also in the time trial. In Beijing, with little preparation, I finished fourth."



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