Contador on Vuelta a Espana: “The route is best suited to Alejandro Valverde”

One day ahead of the start of the third and final Grand Tour of the season, the Vuelta a España, three-time race winner, Alberto Contador, faced questions from the press.

“I’m calmer now after three victories. That is incredible to me and that allows me to relax. For sure if I can, I will look for a fourth victory but we will see, and we will go day by day and see if that’s possible.”

“If we’re talking about favourites, then Valverde has to be in there,” Contador said. “He was very strong in the Tour, he’s won the Vuelta before, the route suits him far better than it does me, it’s got a lot of summit finishes where Valverde can take time in the time bonuses. In fact, I think of all the favourites, the route is best suited to Alejandro.”

“If Nairo and Froome are here, it’s because they want to win,” Contador said. “I can’t be called the top favourite. Okay, I’ve won the race before but Froome’s been on the podium twice before and he’ll want something more than that. Nairo finished the Tour and got straight on with building for the Vuelta, we’ve not even seen him racing since then he’s been so focussed on it.”

“Retiring from the Tour was a pity because I was in brilliant shape, apart from the injuries,” he pointed out. “So I had to stop totally, and I started training again before I had been advised to and I performed well. But even if San Sebastian and Burgos were partly like my first training events for the Vuelta, I’m much less ready for the Vuelta than other years, so that’s why it’s all going to be a bit of a voyage in the dark for me.”

“Winning the Vuelta a Burgos had been good for my confidence, particularly after having to stop riding. But the day after you win, you’ve got to forget everything and keep going again. Psychologically wins like that are always good for the team’s morale, but you have to bear in mind the Vuelta is a lot longer, the rivals are different and we all start out from zero.”

“I’ll go for things day by day, if the situation looks promising, then I will try to win it. But I’m also conscious that Movistar and Sky have stronger teams than mine.”