Alberto Contador: The Vuelta a España is not revenge for the Tour de France

Alberto Contador says that the competition in the Vuelta a España motivates him to achieve his fourth success in the race.

Photo: Graham Watson
(Image credit: Watson)

Alberto Contador is insistent that a fourth success in the Vuelta a España would not be revenge for the Tour de France.

The Tinkoff rider goes into this Saturday's final Grand Tour of the year as favourite, knowing that another overall win would put him alongside Roberto Heras as the only other four-time winner of the race.

Two crashes in the opening days of the Tour de France this July meant that he eventually pulled out on stage nine, bouncing back to win the Vuelta a Burgos earlier this month.

But the disappointment of the Tour is not what his fuelling his Vuelta ambitions, even if he admitted that he found it hard mentally to cope with his withdrawawl. “It's not a matter of revenge, the Vuelta is another race that starts from scratch and I just hope to start on a better footing than the Tour,” he said.

“[The] Tour was my number one goal of the year and it started on the wrong foot and finished by retiring. That really comes often back to my head and is hard to beat psychologically.

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"On the other hand, physically it has also been difficult [coming back] because at first I could not train and that forced me to look a lot after my nutrition, taking into consideration how hard it is to immediately change your mindset when you come from a period of racing."

Tour winner Chris Froome (Sky) will be joined by Nairo Quintana (Movistar), Estaban Chaves (Orica-BikeExchange) and Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo) as Contador’s main rivals for the GC.

He said the competition was “a great motivation”, adding: “The level is very high, because in the end, each year the favourites of the Tour are in the Vuelta and that makes me happy. This marquee line-up will raise great expectations.”

>>> Vuelta a España 2016 start list

Contador, who is set to join Trek-Segafredo in 2017 with Tinkoff folding, described his condition as “I think I’m well” but was keen to temper expectations after his Burgos win.

“I haven't had many tests to see how I am, practically only in Burgos,” he said. “From there I focused on recovering from the effort and doing some quality training, but that race is very different from the Vuelta, in terms of days of competition and the level of its line-up.”

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