Trek-Segafredo rider says rest is key to his Tour preparation

Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) has scheduled a vacation ahead of the Tour de France, where he plans to defeat Team Sky’s Chris Froome with strength and tactical nous.

The 34-year-old Spaniard debuted with his new team with second overall in the Ruta del Sol, before showing strongly in the Abu Dhabi Tour last week. He continues with Paris-Nice, his first goal of the 2017 season, the Volta a Catalunya, País Vasco and a holiday.

“I need holidays,” Contador told Cycling Weekly in Abu Dhabi.

“When you are concentrated 100%, you need to take time off your bike at 100%. I think that’s important. When you are training at altitude for one month, eating the minimum possible and training hard as possible, you need to have your head ready. To do that, you need to be fresh mentally.

“I don’t know where I’ll go. Of course, it’ll be good weather without my bike. It’ll be around one week, and afterwards, starting little by little to train for the Tour de France. I always do this because it’s important.”

>>> Early season races ‘too easy’ for Chris Froome’s Tour de France preparations

The 2017 season is one of Contador’s most important to date, with his performance in the Tour de France possibly deciding whether he continues to ride in 2018.

Trek welcomed the star with open arms. He is one of cycling’s most accomplished Grand Tour cyclists with two wins of the Giro d’Italia wins, two of the Tour de France, and three of the Vuelta a España.

His accomplishments came via strength and some cunning rides. Contador overhauled race leader Joaquím Rodríguez in the 2012 Vuelta thanks to a mid-stage attack.

In the 2017 Vuelta’s stage to Formigal, he instigated the early attack that helped Nairo Quintana (Movistar) ride clear of Froome and win the overall.


Watch: Tour de France 2017 essential guide


“I want arrive at 100%. Sometimes, you don’t arrive in good condition. I’ll do everything I can to arrive in the best condition for the Tour de France and look to see how my legs are on the climbs,” Contador said.

“Of course, after, you can play the situations. First, I think I can be there at 100%. What I’ve seen in training, I feel that I’m ready to fight for the Tour. Of course, if you have a bad day or something strange, you can try to do different things.

“I want to arrive there at 100%. If my legs and body are strong, I have an option to win the Tour.”

Froome made similar tactical, and unexpected, moves in the 2016 Tour de France. He attacked solo on the descent to Bagnères-de-Luchon and in the crosswinds to Montpellier with Peter Sagan and team-mate Geraint Thomas.

“Cycling is like that, you need to take all the opportunities that you have,” added Contador. “Sometimes, riders see wind as a problem and others see it as an opportunity. It’s the same in the descent, some won’t bother, but some want to attack it full on.”

Alberto Contador appears relaxed at his new Trek-Segafredo team (Credit: Sunada)

Contador slid his hands into his red and black gloves marked with the names of American bicycle manufacturer Trek and coffee giant Segafredo. He sat on a couch near his team-mates, all new to him, and appeared relaxed.

“It’s a new motivation, a new team and new equipment. New people. Already, we have a good feeling,” Contador said.

“We are in February, but the feeling is that I’ve been in this team already two years. This helps. When you are enjoying your time outside the race, in our hotel and training camps, you have a higher team performance in the race.”

He returned to Europe on Monday ahead of Paris-Nice which starts on Sunday.

“The final is always hard to pull off, but I’m planning already to win in Paris-Nice. That’s what we are aiming at as the first goal. Maybe it’ll work. Andalucía was only for training. The same in Abu Dhabi with Bauke Mollema. The plan is to start with the victories in Paris-Nice.”