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Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) remains uncommitted on whether or not he’ll race the 2016 Vuelta a España in what could be his final season in the pro peloton.
The Spanish superstar said the Tour de France and the Olympics Games — not his nation’s grand tour — remain his top priorities for the 2016 campaign. Speaking to Eurosport, Contador said he’s not looking beyond Rio de Janeiro.
“Right now, in my program I only have the Tour de France and the Olympic Games,” Contador told Eurosport. “I don’t know if I will race the Vuelta. Right now, I am going to concentrate on the Tour.”
Though he’s left the door open in case something unexpected happens during the season, such as a major crash or illness, the 32-year-old said the 2016 season will likely be his last. Right now, Contador said he’s only focused on the Tour and the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games as his primary goals for 2016.
“It’s a course that’s good for me. After the Tour, if you have a recovery, you can make a good race,” Contador said of Rio. “Everyone likes to represent their country.”
Commenting on his 2015 season, Contador said he wanted more after falling short of his ambitious goal to win the Giro-Tour double. He won the Giro, but rode to fifth overall at the Tour.
“Winning a grand tour like the Giro, you cannot say it’s a bad season, but I am very demanding of myself, and my goal was to win the Giro and the Tour, but it wasn’t meant to be,” he said. “It was a good season, but not excellent.”
There will surely be mounting pressure on Contador to race one last time in front of Spanish fans at the Vuelta if indeed he decides to retire next season. In earlier interviews, Contador has hinted he would like to retire on the top of the sport, and suggested he could imagine riding into the sunset after the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games, assuming he is selected to represent the Spanish national team.
Contador has an enviable Vuelta record, winning three times in three starts. The first victory came in 2008 as part of his Giro-Vuelta double when race organizers banned his then-Astana team from competing in that year’s Tour. He won a second time in 2012 following his return to competition following his controversial, backdated two-year clenbuterol ban. The third Vuelta crown came in 2014 in a thrilling battle against Chris Froome (Sky).