All-in for Tour: No Giro defense for Contador in 2016

The two-time Giro d'Italia champion will not race next year's Italian grand tour, opting instead to prepare for the Tour de France.

Alberto Contador confirmed he will not defend his Giro d’Italia title in 2016, and aims to be all-in for one last shot at winning another Tour de France.

The Spanish superstar, who says next season will likely be his last, said preparing 100 percent for the Tour means he will be bypass the Italian grand tour.

“The Giro is always a special race for me,” the Tinkoff-Saxo rider said in the Spanish daily AS. “It’s the most beautiful race in the world, but next year, it will be better to watch it on TV.”

On Monday, Giro organizers revealed the route for the 2016 corsa rosa. As always, the race is replete with challenges, including three time trials, but Contador said after trying to win the Giro and Tour in 2015, he admitted it’s too hard if he wants to arrive at the Tour in top shape.

“It will be difficult to watch the Giro on TV, but if I want to arrive at the Tour with guarantees of being able to do it well, I think it’s better to not be in Italy,” Contador said.

In 2015, Contador won the Giro, but the effort cost him as he tried to take on the double at the Tour, managing fifth overall despite struggling to keep up with Sky’s Chris Froome and Movistar’s Nairo Quintana in the decisive climbing stages.

For next season, Contador is steering clear of the Giro, and he wants to arrive at the Tour at the top of his game. He’s hinted he will take aim at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, and could race the Vuelta a España as well next season, a race he skipped this year.

“The Giro will be hard, as always,” Contador said. “The weather in May always complicates things, especially in the mountains … It’s an ideal course for grand tour riders, and I think it’s perfect for [Vincenzo] Nibali.”