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By Kurt Hoy
Alberto Contador said Thursday that, judging by his power, he’s stronger this year than he was in 2009.
During a Specialized press conference held Thursday evening local time in the lobby of the Gran Hotel Sol Y Mar, Contador addressed topics ranging from equipment and fitness, to the depth of the Astana team and the addition of Alexander Vinokourov.
“I see the power in my computer, and I see also (the power) of the last year, and this year is better,” said a relaxed Contador while mixing English and Spanish. Contador didn’t get into training specifics that could have resulted in the power increase, but he did allude to his change in bikes (from Trek to Specialized).
“The main differences that I’ve noticed are that it (S-Works Tarmac SL3) seems like a much stiffer bike — so much so, that it can take a couple of days to get used to it.” Contador also mentioned that his bike “feels” shorter, and that he’s been surprised by how well it handles on descents.
Motivated by “the competition,” Contador said that he’ll first be racing in the Tour of the Algarve, in Portugal. Following a plan similar to last year’s, he’ll then go on to race Paris-Nice, the Volta Catalunya, and País Vasco … and maybe the Classics. “If I feel good, I’ll go.”
When talking Tour de France, Contador mentioned that he plans to make a cobble-specific training trip to Belgium during February. He also said that he will be stronger in the time trial for 2010, but he’s not sorry to see the TTT gone from the Tour. The team time trial suited Astana last year, but it doesn’t this year.
Contador commented on the strengths of his teammates, singling out Pereiro, Navarro , and Hernandez. About Vinokourov, he said, “You know how strong he is.” Contador called Vino a “great racer,” and said he expects the Kazakh rider to be an asset because of his experience and from a tactical perspective. Another strong rider will create more possibilities (to attack, for example).
“I think, in July, I will have a strong team to back me in the Tour de France,” Contador added.
Click here to see the video of the news conference. And for more on the team Astana training camp, check out VeloNews.com on Friday.