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After Tour crashes, Contador likely to miss Olympics

The Spaniard abandoned the Tour during Sunday's stage 9 following crashes in early days of the race.

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MADRID (AFP) — Spanish cyclist Alberto Contador said Tuesday he is almost certain to miss the Rio de Janeiro Olympics next month because of injuries that ruined his shot at a third Tour de France victory.

The 33-year-old, two-time Tour de France champion quit cycling’s most famous race during Sunday’s ninth stage after crashing on both of the opening two stages, suffering injuries including down his right side.

He finished fourth in the individual time trial at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, but missed the following Games in London after he was handed a two-year doping ban.

“Regarding the Olympics, it is practically impossible (for me to participate) because the question is not whether I have recovered but if I can participate in top condition,” he said during a press conference in Madrid after having medical tests.

“At first glance it looks like that will not be possible.”

Doctors said it would take about four weeks for Contador to recover from a range of injuries, which include muscle tears in his left thigh and bruising to his right shoulder.

Contador said missing the Olympics, which start on August 5, would deal “a big blow to morale because it is the second main objective of the year after the Tour.”

He is hoping to recover in time to ride in the Vuelta a Espana, which begins on August 20.

“I think I can get there,” he said of the Vuelta, a race he has won on three occasions.

Contador insisted he had no regrets after persevering in this year’s Tour despite the early crashes that eventually forced him into a premature exit.

“I had to try it, I had to try to give it everything,” he said.

He dismissed any thoughts of retirement, just a day after compatriot Joaquim Rodriguez, 37, announced he would call time on his career at the end of the season.

“We’re going to conclude an agreement in due course with a team for next year,” said Contador, who acknowledged having made contact with various teams in the final year of his deal with Tinkoff.