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Tour de France

Contador suffering from cold with one week until Tour

Alberto Contador is skipping Spanish nationals with a minor cold, but his Tinkoff team says it's nothing to worry about

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Better safe than sorry. Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) isn’t taking any risks before the Tour de France, and after coming down with a minor cold, he pulled out of the Spanish national championships this weekend as a precaution.

Tinkoff team officials confirmed Contador has come down with a “resfriado” — a minor cold — and won’t be racing until the Tour starts Saturday next weekend in Normandy.

“Nothing serious,” a team spokesman said. “It’s better not to risk. We expect everything to be perfect for the start of the Tour.”

The announcement came as a surprise because Contador rarely competes in Spanish nationals, and the course was a good one for him. Jesús Hernandez, a Tinkoff teammate and helper, also pulled out.

Any health problems ahead of the Tour can raise red flags, but officials insist it’s nothing serious. Contador was training at altitude at Livigno, Italy, following the Critérium du Dauphiné.

The two-time Tour winner enjoyed his best spring in years, but couldn’t match archrival Chris Froome (Sky) at the Dauphiné. The veteran remains optimistic he will be even better for the Tour.

Tinkoff will announce its final Tour lineup Tuesday, via a live webcast from Moscow with team owner Oleg Tinkov. Contador should see strong support from such riders as Hernandez, Romain Kreuziger, and Rafal Majka, with world champion Peter Sagan chasing another green jersey.