PARIS (VN) — Alberto Contador vows to come back to the Tour de France next year to win.
The 2010 Tour champion said he would not race the Giro d’Italia again before taking aim at the Tour and promised to return next year in top fighting shape.
“Next year I will return to the Tour to win and I will focus exclusively on this race,” Contador said Sunday. “The Tour is the most important race, and because of that, I will not go to the Giro. I’ll never race the Giro again.”
Nor will he race the Vuelta a España next month. Contador is focused on winning more Tours in the coming years.
“I didn’t have a smooth ride through this year’s Tour,” Contador said. “I had some early setbacks and I was feeling fatigue from racing the Giro. I was never at my best during this Tour, but I decided to keep fighting to the end. I would have liked to have finished on the podium, but I came here to win and I leave with a good taste in my mouth.”
Contador leaves Paris fifth overall at 3:57 back. Although he didn’t win the Tour, his attacking style and never-say-die attitude seemed to win him new fans and helped him take something positive out of what was a disappointing three-week run.
He said was feeling the effects of his long attack over the Galibier during Saturday’s time trial, when he finished third to climb into fifth overall.
“When you expend so much energy, you’re going to feel it the next day. Nevertheless, I am more fulfilled by the sense of gratitude I received from the public than winning a Tour stage,” Contador said. “When I entered my hotel room, my cell phone was left without any battery power from all the incoming messages that people had sent me to say thanks for the hard effort.”
His next major battle will be his upcoming clenbuterol case before the Court of Arbitration for Sport, set for early August.
Contador confirmed to Spanish journalists he would attend at least part of what’s expected to be a three-day hearing. His spokesmen also expressed “confidence” that the Spanish climber would be cleared on the clenbuterol charges.
If he is not vindicated, Contador could lose his 2010 Tour victory and face a two-year racing ban.