Contador's season includes a later start, at the Volta ao Algarve, and will skip the pollen-rich Ardennes
It’s all about the Tour de France in 2014 for Alberto Contador.
The Spanish star wrapped up a Saxo-Tinkoff training camp on Spain’s Gran Canaria with renewed enthusiasm for the season to come. After a sluggish 2013, with only one minor victory and missing out on the Tour podium, Contador told the Spanish daily MARCA he’s rolling into next season with big goals.
“The team keeps its same bloc from the  Tour,” Contador told MARCA. “The team is strong and I am confident.”
For 2014, Contador reconfirmed that he will race both the Tour de France and the Vuelta a España.
His racing schedule includes a later start, with the Volta ao Algarve in Portugal in February. After the Vuelta a País Vasco in mid-April, he plans to regroup with mountain training camps far from the Ardennes and the pollen that grips the European spring.
Contador told MARCA he does not want to repeat the mistakes of 2013, when he entered the Tour in less-than-ideal condition.
“Things didn’t go as well as I would have liked. I was missing something,” Contador said. “The season started up and down, and I had to change the script because I wasn’t going well, and I later I couldn’t reach my top level.”
Contador said he started racing too early, with the Tour de San Luís in January, where he earned his lone win on 2013, and then fell ill during the terrible weather at Tirreno-Adriatico in March.
By the time he started the Basque tour in early April, Contador said, he was behind in training and fitness, and could never catch up.
Contador, who turns 31 next week, said he has no plans to stop racing in the near future.
“We’re getting older and sooner or later will come the moment to pack it in,” he said. “That moment will come when I realize I cannot reach my own expectations, when I see it’s not possible to realize the goals. That’s when it will be time to hang up the bike, but I don’t see that happening for a long time.”
In the short term, all eyes will be on Monday’s announcement in London. Contador will attend, along with team manager Bjarne Riis and teammate Nicolas Roche, for what’s being billed as “important news about the future of the team.”
Alberto Contador’s tentative 2014 schedule:
Volta ao Algarve (February 19-23)
Paris-Nice (March 9-16) or Tirreno-Adriatico (March 12-18)
Volta a Catalunya (March 24-30) or Critérium International (March 29-30)
Vuelta al País Vasco (April 7-12)
Critérium du Dauphiné (June 8-15)
Tour de France (July 5-27)
Vuelta a España (August 23-September 14)