SAN LUIS, Argentina (VN) — Alberto Contador’s ambition for the Tour de San Luis is limited to shedding a little winter weight as he builds his form toward the 2013 Tour de France.
The Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank rider spoke with the press in advance of the race, which begins Monday with a 164km stage from San Luis to Villa Mercedes. He finished second to Levi Leipheimer in the 2012 edition of the event, winning stage 3 and stage 5.
Contador said he was in Argentina not to win, but “to fine tune and adjust my weight, since I’m a few kilos over. But that’s normal in January.”
“It’s true that I like to compete if I see an opportunity,” he added. “I can hardly stop myself if I have good legs, but I’m a bit overweight and when it comes to uphill finishes, it’s all mathematics. There are riders here who are better than me right now.”
Asked about his team for San Luis, Contador replied that the Saxo-Tinkoff squad “is in a superb form” and excited about the 2013 season.
“We will all have opportunities. The team is stronger now and I think we’re well prepared,” he said. “Here, for instance, we bring a complete team with four riders that go very well in the mid-mountain and in the plain, and then we have Jesus Hernandez, who is strong uphill. We are a very balanced team.”
Contador expects the stage-4 individual time trial on Thursday to pick a winner from among the best climbers. Leipheimer took that stage last year en route to the overall title.
Asked to pick a favorite, he replied: “It’s hard to say. There is an impressive list of riders. I could not say exactly. [Vincenzo] Nibali proved to be strong in 2012 and Dani Moreno and Purito [Joaquim Rodriguez] will also be there.”
Contador also mentioned Jürgen Van den Broeck and Tejay Van Garderen as possibilities, “plus local riders who prepare at 100 percent for this race specifically — and they are really strong in the mountains.”
For his part, Contador continues to focus on his buildup to the Tour.
“After Tour de San Luis, I will run the Tour of Oman, a race that I don’t know that well, and I will continue with Tirreno-Adriatico. That I don’t know either, but I’m excited to go, because until now, I always did Paris-Nice,” he said.
“Then I’ll go to the Criterium International, another race with a great reputation and where I’ve never been in a good condition. Finally, I’ll ride Basque Country and then the team will analyze the possibilities of riding some of the classics or go to the Giro.”
In the meantime, Contador said, he plans to enjoy his sojourn in Argentina.
“People here have been very kind to me as they were last year. It’s great for me to launch the season here as there are fine possibilities of training,” he said.