Monday 27 June 2011

Contador unsure for the Tour

Alberto Contador says he's still unsure about his form just five days before the start of this year's event, stating that he's not confident that he has recovered yet from the Giro d'Italia and the sheer physical effort he was required to make in order to win it. The 28-year-old Saxobank rider, favourite to win the Tour for a third time, complained of tiredness following Sunday's Spanish National Championships during which he won a silver medal in the road race and a bronze in the time trial, saying "It was not a hard climb, but it has been hot and we have done 210km... but my performance and fitness had to be seen in the Tour - I have to wait, it is unknown."
When Contador's at his best, very, very few riders can stay with him in the mountains. However, he claims not to be at his best with the Tour de France just around the corner.
However, he's known for apparently underestimating his prospects in the weeks prior to large events - many in the cycling world thought the man with the best chance of beating him Andy Schleck was sandbagging during the Tour de Suisse, so perhaps this is an attempt to take the Luxembourger on at his own game: he may yet turn out to be on top form and prove his ability to win two Grand Tours in one year.

Contador, one of the best climbers in the professional cycling world, has been making similar complaints ever since the Giro. This is likely to provide ammunition for those who believe his success has been due to doping - he faces an appearance before the Court for Arbitration in Sport in early August following a test sample that was found to contain miniscule traces of the banned bronchodilator Clenbuterol in last year's Tour, and if he can't perform well this year there will be muttered suggestions that this is because he's stopped using performance-enhancers since then. On the other hand, if he does well, there'll be accusations that he's still using them so he's damned either way.

Like he says, it is unknown. We'll all have to wait and see.

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