1. Home » Tour de France » Is this Contador’s last Tour de France?

Is this Contador’s last Tour de France?

ROMANS-SUR-ISERE, France (VN) — Trek-Segafredo wants to avoid the subject of Alberto Contador’s last Tour de France with only five days left to race, but 2017 could be the end of an era.

Contador, winner of the 2007 and 2009 Tours, is said to be racing the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España to close out his career in 2018. Trek-Segafredo instead would allow Dutchman Bauke Mollema, stage winner Sunday, to lead its team.

“For me the most important is to have fun and enjoy it because I know that in cycling external factors has a big influence, like the crashes I had this year that ruined my GC chances,” the 34-year-old from Madrid told VeloNews.

This week, Contador says he is thinking of the Tour — specifically the next two big Alpine stages.

“I’ll have to sit down with the team and discuss the goals for 2018. But for now, I want to win one of these two possible stages,” Contador added.

“Now the only thing we can do is fight to the final for stage or something special in the Tour de France.

“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 even if I don’t take the victory, it can still be important and memorable.”

Contador remained vague, but his coach and sport director Steven De Jongh said that the Tour days may end with the 21st stage to Paris on Sunday.

“Maybe he just rides the Giro d’Italia next year, but much depends on the outcome of this Tour,” the Dutch director told NOS. “I knew that he very much wants to win a stage to say goodbye to France.”

De Jongh had said earlier that Contador would not race the grand tours if he was not aiming for the overall.

Those who know Contador well, indicate the same. One insider who worked with Contador in the grand tours said that he agreed to extend his contract through 2018 with the American WorldTour team. Italian co-sponsor Segafredo asked him to race the Giro next year.

“He should continue, Trek says so. But the word is that he will ride the Giro and the Vuelta in 2018,” journalist for Spanish newspaper AS, José Andrés Ezquerro said.

“I say this is his last Tour de France — I think this is the end for him in the Tour. I think that he continued his career far too much. He needed to be more selective with ‘easier’ races given his age.”

Trek-Segafredo and Contador are looking for a happy ending to one of Spanish cycling’s most successful careers. Contador won the Tour two times, the Giro d’Italia twice, and his home tour, the Vuelta a España three times. However, an anti-doping violation tainted his record. The UCI stripped him of a 2010 Tour win and a 2011 Giro victory.

“Clearly, an athlete like him needs to be a captain and not just a support man,” general manager Luca Guercilena said. “Or perhaps, he starts the Giro or Tour to win, but re-focuses on stages, like what happened here. He will not start a grand tour just to aim for stages, that’s not him. If he starts, it’s with the idea to win the overall. He’s a star rider.”

In a dream scenario, after crashes knocked him out of the overall contention, Contador would win the Serre-Chevalier stage Wednesday or the Col d’Izoard stage Thursday. Such success would make it easier to walk away from the Tour.

“For sure and that’s how it should be, on top and not hidden within the group,” Guercilena said. “We want to see him racing with his heart and his legs, that’s the Contador signature.”

“Now the only thing we can do is fight to the final for a stage or something special in the Tour de France,” Contador added.

“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 even if I don’t take the victory, it can still be important and memorable.”

Related Articles