Retired Alberto Contador missing competition, but relieved to no longer be 'slave to dieting'

The Spaniard says Sky's Chris Froome and Egan Bernal can both win Grand Tours in 2019

Alberto Contador at the Tour de France 2019 route presentation (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Spanish Grand Tour star Alberto Contador, now retired, says he no longer feels a "slave to dieting" trying be fit for races like the Tour de France.

Contador retired ahead of the 2018 season with seven Grand Tour victories, including the 2007 and 2009 Tour, in his palmarès.

"I miss the taste of competition, because I'm a born competitor," Contador told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"However, I'm finally not a slave to dieting. You had to always be careful, at the limit... Then there was the tension in the races and the fear of crashes."

Several crashes marked Contador's Grand Tour runs. Three separate crashes led to knee problems in the opening week of the 2011 Tour.

He won 2008 and 2015 editions of the Giro d'Italia and the Vuelta a España in 2008, 2012 and 2014 in addition to his 2007 and 2009 Tour titles. His 2010 Tour and 2011 Giro wins were stripped due to an anti-doping case.

At 34 years old in 2017, after ninth overall in the Tour and fifth in the Vuelta, he retired.

"I left in the perfect moment, still on top, and keeping a fantastic memory even in the last days," he said.

Contador retired after the 2017 Vuelta, where he won the final mountain stage to Angliru.

"I could have continued for two or three years, I had good options... But you know projects in personal life, like that of becoming a father, demanded their space."

In his free time now, he manages a team and commentates for television. Often, he is talking about Team Sky, with their Grand Tour star Chris Froome aiming for a record-equalling fifth Tour title in 2019.

"Yes he can [win a fifth title]. He has it in his legs as well as having a team like Sky that I imagine will be by his side after Thomas took good advantage of his chance last year. Chris has many possibilities."

Froome will skip the Giro, which he won in 2018, and aim directly at the Tour in 2019. Team Sky is heading to the Giro with 22-year-old Colombian promise Egan Bernal. Contador said he is already ready to win the Giro in his first participation this May.

"Yes. For me he is truly strong!" Contador continued. "His potential and capacity are scary."

And on the prediction that Bernal wins the Giro and Froome the Tour: "I would say so."

Contador has not completely left his own bike-riding days behind him, however. It was announced this week that he is to wear the coveted '312' dossard at the 10th edition of the Mallorca 312 gran fondo this April 27 and will ride the full 312km route.

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