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Alberto Contador cautiously optimistic about 2011 Tour of Catalunya

Alberto Contador says he's motivated for the weeklong Tour of Catalunya, but he doesn't expect to have it easy in Spain's oldest stage race.

Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Sungard) says he’s motivated for the weeklong Tour of Catalunya, which begins Monday, but he doesn’t expect to have it easy in Spain’s oldest stage race.

Nearly two weeks after winning the Vuelta a Murcia, Contador enters the race cautiously optimistic he can do well against a tough field that includes Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Cannondale), Cadel Evans (BMC) and Denis Menchov (Geox-TMC).

“I don’t know what to say, maybe it’s more complicated because the 
course is too favorable to the attacks,” Contador said in a press statement. “The third day is the key stage, finishing 
in Andorra, in Pal, but the rest are difficult days and there is no time trial. In this sense, the course is not too favorable for me.”

Contador will likely have one eye on the calendar, as the UCI has until Thursday to decide on whether or not it will appeal the Spanish federation’s decision to clear the Spanish rider on clenbuterol charges.

Contador, meanwhile, says he will continue to keep working to prepare for the first major goal of his season at the Giro d’Italia.

“No, we will not change anything (in the calendar). I’ll continue with the Tour of Castilla and Leon, as preparation for the Giro, and I will pass by Belgium, at the Fleche Wallonne, which last year I did well,” Contador said. “I have wanted to go because it is very nice, because the fans and because it has a great reputation. And then, the Giro de Italia.”