Alberto Contador said he’s raising the bar with his move to Saxo Bank-Sungard in 2011, with the likely participation in two grand tours next season.
Saxo Bank boss Bjarne Riis is even more ambitious, saying that Contador hasn’t reached his potential as a rider and even suggested the Spanish climber is capable of winning all three grand tours in one season.
That’s something that’s never been done in cycling history, but Contador says it’s not impossible.
“Of course, that is a dream, even though it’s not impossible,” Contador said in an interview released by his press agent. “I believe I could race all three grand tours at a good level, but going from there to winning them is something else. You have to go step-by-step, and I am aware that it’s practically impossible, but maybe someday. It’s a dream. Everyone has their dream, and that’s mine.”
More likely is a run at two grand tour titles in one season, something Contador accomplished in 2008 when he won the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a España.
The Tour will remain Contador’s primary focus, so a run at the Giro or Vuelta before or after the Tour will be the likely scenario for the Spanish climber.
“It’s still too early to know the calendar, but I have it in my head to do two grand tours next year,” Contador continued. “I don’t know exactly which two, but I’ll have to change a little the training program and perhaps start the season a little more relaxed.”
Contador’s move from Astana to Saxo Bank-Sungard in a two-year deal has been the biggest story in what’s sure to be a busy “silly season” as riders switch teams, find new contracts in the wake of folding teams and search out a better pay-check.
Contador reportedly turned down a 5-million-euro deal with Astana to join Riis. Contador said Riis was able to convince him to join Saxo Bank with the strong team philosophy and track record of producing consistently dominant Tour teams.
“I am very excited. I believe it was the best choice,” Contador said. “I’m coming to a team with a well-defined philosophy, with a good way of working and that will give me the tranquility that I haven’t had the past few years. I am happy and motivated to start this new project.”
Contador said he’s hopeful Riis will sign loyalists such as Benjamin Noval, Jesus Hernandez and Dani Navarro as well as some other riders.