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Speaking to a Spanish daily after a recent gran fondo event in Mallorca, the retired Spanish star said he expects Tadej Pogačar to rule what he calls a “golden generation.”
“Cycling is living one of its best moments,” he told Ultima Hora. “We are before a golden generation. In whatever race or stage, we’re seeing ambition, with the big names fighting for victory. This is helping cycling have more impact and fans.”
Since retiring in 2017, Contador’s stayed busy with his cycling team — Eolo Kometa – as well as working with Eurosport TV. Contador keeps his finger on the pulse of the peloton, and he said he’s impressed with what he sees in Pogačar and cycling’s newest generation of budding stars.
“He dominates the Tour and he’s the man to beat, especially after what he did last year,” Contador said of the Slovenian. “But every edition is different and there’s competition. Roglič had problems, so we’ll see how he is in 2022. But I see a very strong Pogačar, with room to improve, and becoming more confident by his results, and he shows a spectacular level when he tries to win.”
Contador was part of the famous “Spanish Armada” that ruled the roads of Europe for nearly two decades, with only Alejandro Valverde and Luis León Sánchez still active in the peloton from those glory days.
No Spanish rider won a stage in any grand tour in 2021, raising alarm bells across the Spanish peloton.
“These things happen, and everyone’s noticing,” Contador said. “Things will change, and everyone has to work and bet on the youth, like we’re doing at the Fundación Alberto Contador.
“Enric Mas? He has tremendous recovery and he knows what he has to do to hit a podium in a grand tour,” Contador said of Spain’s latest hope. “There’s a lot of pressure on his shoulders, but I have a lot of hope he can win a grand tour. He’s a potential winner. When? Time will tell, but he has the quality to fight for it, and he’s already shown that.”