VALKENBURG, Netherlands (VN) — Alberto Contador will race Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège later this week, Saxo-Tinkoff officials confirmed to VeloNews.
Contador was unsure he’d race this week’s Ardennes classics after a hard week of racing last week in a cold and rainy Vuelta al País Vasco (Tour of the Basque Country), where he finished fifth overall.
“Alberto called me today in the car and said he will race,” Saxo-Tinkoff sport director Philippe Mauduit said. “He wanted to see how he was breathing because he was not feeling so good in the Basque Country, but he said he’s ready to race.”
The 30-year-old Contador has had mixed results in the Ardennes. Despite having success in one-day races, including second place in last weekend’s Klasika Primavera, Contador has made his name winning stage races.
His best results are third at Flèche and 10th at Liège, both in 2010.
Mauduit said Contador clearly has the ability to win one of the Ardennes.
“Of course, Alberto can win,” he said. “But you cannot win in the Ardennes unless you are in top, top shape. If not, forget it.”
The question then becomes if Contador is in top form. So far, his only win was a stage at the Tour de San Luís in January. Since then, he’s been consistent, but hasn’t had the knockout punch to win a GC title yet. Contador said he did not expect his condition to produce a victory in the Low Countries this week, but that he would take the start before recouping ahead of his build-up to the Tour de France.
“Saxo-Tinkoff wanted me to be here and, of course, they are races that everyone likes to run, but to prepare the Tour de France is perhaps better to discard them,” Contador said in a press release on Monday. “But I only have to extend another week the competition schedule, so I’ll try to do the best I can. Then I will take holidays before starting the preparation for the Tour.”