Contador to race 2011 Giro d'Italia, claims Zomegnan

Alberto Contador, Paris-Nice 2010, stage four

Tour de France champion Alberto Contador will return to the Giro d'Italia next year, according to race director, Angelo Zomegnan.

"In 2011 Alberto Contador will return," Zomegnan told Italian paper La Gazzetta dello Sport. "We came to an agreement in Liège."

However, despite Zomegnan's enthusiastic claims, when Cycling Weekly contacted Contador's Astana team this morning they were quick to deny the statement, saying that the Spaniard hadn't committed to the race.

Contador won the Giro d'Italia in 2008 and went on to win the Vuelta a España later in the year. With the 2007 and 2009 Tour de France wins, he is the only active rider to have won all three Grand Tours.

"The team can't think of the Giro and the Tour or the Tour and the Vuelta, we can to only think of the Tour," Contador said in December, ruling out this year's Giro d'Italia. "When the team has more experience together, maybe it will be possible to think about it."

Contador's Astana team went through restructuring last winter after Team Manager Johan Bruyneel left the team and took many key domestiques, including Haimar Zubeldia. Yvon Sanquer came in to replace Bruyneel and the team has continued successfully, with Contador already winning three stage races this year.

The 2011 Giro d'Italia will likely start in Turin to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy. This year's Giro d'Italia starts next Saturday in Amsterdam and continues in Italy with stage four.

Brit Bradley Wiggins aims to win the opening time trial and take the leader's pink jersey. His Sky team also has stage four in its sights, a 32.5-kilometre team time trial from Savigliano to Cuneo.

2010 Giro d'Italia coverage in association with Zipvit

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