Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) continues his rebound during this week’s Vuelta a Burgos in northern Spain. The 33-year-old returned to competition at the Clásica San Sebastián over the weekend, and will use the five-day stage race to hone his form ahead of the Vuelta a España.
“Alberto comes here from his injury, so we have to see how he is,” said Tinkoff sport director Ivan Basso. “We will focus on bringing him through the race in a good way, and see how he feels after San Sebastián, and go from there.”
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Contador is hoping to be back in top condition in time for the Vuelta (August 20- September 11), and is still recovering from two heavy crashes in the first week of the Tour de France.
After abandoning the Tour, Contador has set his sights on the Vuelta, where he will face off against Chris Froome (Sky) and Nairo Quintana (Movistar).
The five-day stage race across northern Spain offers a mix of flat stages, a team time trial, and climbs, ideal for riders heading to the Vuelta. The final-day climb to Laguna de Neila typically decides the GC. Quintana won in 2013 and 2014, and last year, Rein Taaramae won with Astana.
In addition to Contador, other contenders include Omar Fraile (Dimension Data), Simon Yates (Orica – BikeExchange), Samuel Sanchez (BMC Racing), and Eros Capecchi (Astana). Americans Ian Boswell (Sky) and Chad Haga (Giant – Alpecin) are also lining up.
Sky’s Danny van Poppel won Tuesday’s stage 1 in a sprint ahead of BMC’s Jean-Pierre Drucker and Gianni Meersman of Etixx – Quick-Step.
Basso said the team isn’t putting too much pressure on Contador to win.
“This is a much different race, first of all because our GC captain is there, Alberto, and it’s an important race as we have 12 other WorldTour teams there, and it’s a very difficult race,” said Basso, making his second start as a sport director. “We will try each day to see what we can do.”