MADRID, Nov 29, 2012 (AFP) – Spanish champion cyclist Alberto Contador said
Thursday he planned not to extend his exhausting career “too much” longer and
insisted he needed lots of notice if he is to race in the next Tour de France.
Contador played down earlier comments that suggested he may not take part
in the 2013 Tour de France if his team Saxo Bank is not given ample notice of
whether it is accepted in the race.
“I am not thinking of extending my sporting career too much,” said
Contador, who has three years left on his current contract with Saxo Bank,
during a promotional appearance.
“I give practically everything for cycling and it takes a lot of time in my
life. I spend more than 200 days a year away from home. It’s really hard and
wears you out a lot.”
Contador, two-time champion of the Tour de France, won his second Tour of
Spain crown in September, a month after returning from a two-year doping ban.
He lost his third Tour de France title and his 2011 Giro title after being
banned for testing positive for the banned substance clenbuterol during the
Contador insisted Thursday he had not been trying to put pressure on Tour
organizers with his comments last week, saying he needed to have sufficient
notice to prepare.
“Not at all. Everyone knows how it is when you’re preparing for a Grand
Tour, especially the Tour de France. You have to be thinking about that race
from the very start of the season.”
If he does not make the next Tour, Contador said he would aim to compete in
the Spanish Vuelta or the Italian Giro.
Saxo Bank are waiting to find out if they are to be included in the
International Cycling Union’s (UCI) WorldTour division for 2013 after their
omission from its provisional list of 15 teams released in October.
The Danish team failed to make the initial cut, which took into account
each team’s top 12 riders under contract for the 2013 season. They were unable
to count Contador’s points due to his doping suspension.