Alberto Contador uncertain about Tour de France return in 2018

The two-time winner of the Tour de France has suffered through the 2017 edition with a stage win his best hope of success in the final week

Alberto Contador on stage 16 of the 2017 Tour de France.
(Image credit: Yuzuru Sunada)

Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) could close a long and successful career in the Tour de France in the final stage in Paris on Sunday, says sports director Steven De Jongh.

Contador hoped to ride for the overall in the 2017 Tour de France having won the race twice in his career, but crashes have held back the 34-year-old from Madrid.

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"Maybe he just rides the Giro d'Italia next year, but much depends on the outcome of this Tour," De Jongh told Dutch media NOS. "I knew that he very much wants to win a stage to say goodbye to France."

Contador won the 2007 and 2009 Tours and had the 2010 title stripped due to an anti-doping violation.

Cycling Weekly learned that Segafredo, the Italian coffee co-sponsor, asked Contador to race the Giro d'Italia when he extended his contract for 2018. Neither the contract extension nor race plan has been announced yet.

"Next year, thinking about the Tour de France, we will have to think about what the important objectives are," Contador told Cycling Weekly.

"It’s too early to speak about next year now. I think we need to wait a little bit. In this moment, it is important we concentrate on the next week to come."

Contador wants to win one of the next two stages in the Alps, Wednesday's stage over the Col du Galibier and the following day's difficult summit finish to the Col d'Izoard.

"The Tour didn't start very well for me this year with many crashes I lost opportunities for the GC. Now the only thing we can do is fight to the final for stage or something special in the Tour de France," he added.

"It's important for me of course. It's not easy because I do not have many opportunities. For the other part, I think that if I can do a good stage, maybe if I even don't take the victory, that can still be important and memorable."

The American WorldTour team is said to be leading the Tour next year with Bauke Mollema. The Dutchman rode high in the overall classification in 2016 and won a stage on Sunday.

"Clearly what I've always said with a star like Contador, the athlete needs to decide," the team's general manager Luca Guercilena said of Contador's future.

"A sports director always tries to anticipate the plans coming up so it's normal, but Steven knows that it's always the cyclist who will make the plans for the year.

"We have not yet spoken with Alberto because we just want to concentrate on these final stages."

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Gregor Brown

Gregor Brown is an experienced cycling journalist, based in Florence, Italy. He has covered races all over the world for over a decade - following the Giro, Tour de France, and every major race since 2006. His love of cycling began with freestyle and BMX, before the 1998 Tour de France led him to a deep appreciation of the road racing season.