SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA, Spain, Sept 14, 2014 (AFP) – Tour of Spain leader
Alberto Contador has ruled out competing at the world championships in his
home country a week from now despite being picked for the Spanish team.
Speaking after his victory in the 20th and penultimate stage of the Vuelta
a Espana, a result which virtually assured him of overall victory a day later,
Contador said Spain would have a strong team without him, despite Spanish
selector Javier Minguez including him in a preliminary squad.
Asked if he would change his mind, Contador replied: “No, I’ve already
taken my decision and I told him (Minguez).
“It’s true that he’s put me in the preliminary squad but that doesn’t
“The riders taking part have a great responsibility and Spain are
favourites to win a medal.”
Minguez also selected Aljenadro Valverde and Joaquim Rodriguez, who were
sitting third and fourth at the Vuelta heading into Sunday’s final stage 9.7km
timetrial in which the chances of gaining places are slim.
The world championships begin on Sunday September 21 in Ponferrada,
Contador said this Vuelta had not been as hard as his last victory in 2012
but acknowledged that this time around it had probably it’s best ever field
with 2013 Tour de France winner Chris Froome, 2009 Vuelta laureate Valverde,
Rodriguez, Fabio Aru and even current Giro d’Italia champion Nairo Quintana
before he crashed out.
And having finished fourth at last year’s Tour and crashed out of this
year’s Grand Boucle with a broken leg just 10 stages in, Contador said he was
delighted to be back winning major three-week races.
“I’m back on the podium this year. It’s been a challenge and various
circumstances stopped me from being at my maximum but those things motivate me.
“I’ve never had a season in which I’ve worked so hard. It was tough to get
over the disappointment in the Tour de France but in the rest of the races
I’ve had the best results I could have.”
Contador paid tribute to Froome who pushed him to his limits and kept
battling all the way to the end.
Their duel up the final “hors category” climb to the finish of Saturday’s
mountain stage was a classic ‘man against man’ arm-wrestle.
“It motivates me a lot because he’s a reference on a world level and to fight
with him is extra motivation,” said the 31-year-old Spaniard.
“But next year we start again from zero and we’ll all start preparing from
Speaking of that final climb, Contador added: “It wasn’t easy, just when I
thought Froome wouldn’t change his rhythm he did, but luckily my legs
Froome, who also crashed out of July’s Tour — breaking his hand — said he
had tried everything but simply could not break Contador’s resistance.
“We tried everything to drop Alberto. The guys gave their all today
(Saturday), they did an amazing job to make the race difficult and give me the
chance to make the difference on the final climb and put Alberto in
difficulty,” he said.
“I gave everything on the final climb but unfortunately I found myself
towing him. But that’s cycling. I tried everything to drop him but he was
stronger than me.”
“But given the condition I was in when I arrived at this race it would be
difficult for me to be happier.
“I came here with limited ambitions. I didn’t know if I’d be fighting for
the top 10, the podium or overall victory.
“I’m really delighted to finish second. That will motivate me a lot for the
“It’s a great achievement. I’m coming back from a broken hand and I
couldn’t train in ideal conditions.”