Many have doubted if Alberto Contador will reach his former level of greatness in this year’s Tour de France. The Spaniard hasn’t won any of the stage races he has been riding and so far he’s only got one stage win this season. However, what many tend to forget is that this year the plan has been different. Alberto Contador was mentally drained after his turbulent 2012-season and he needed a longer winter break than usually. Therefore, he started out 2013 three kilos heavier than the preview years, and naturally this has affected his results.
Instead of being close to his best level during the first part of the season - as he usually is - Contador has planned everything around the Tour de France. At Dauphiné he said he was on 75 % and according to his best friend and teammate, Jesus Hernandez, Alberto Contador is now ready to fight for the overall win.
“In general I think the balance is good. We haven’t won [much] but we have been close in all the races and therefore, the balance can’t be bad. Each year is different and the beginnings of the seasons are never the same. We have been working hard in order to arrive in a good condition for the Tour and I think we have achieved that”, Jesus Hernandez tells me.
Looking at the Saxo-Tinkoff team for the Tour, I doubt Alberto Contador has ever had a stronger team to support him. A view shared by Hernandez.
“We come [to the Tour] with a very solid block [of riders] in all areas, very attuned around Alberto. It is indeed a very strong team”, Hernandez says and ads: “The last rider in the mountains will be Kreuziger, who’s very strong. Before that, it’s up to Rogers, Roche and me depending on the stages”.
The two individual time trials in this year’s Tour de France is, without a doubt, in the favor of Chris Froome. Therefore, many have been wondering if Alberto Contador will be strong enough in the mountains to take back the time he will lose against the clock. According to Jesus Hernandez, that’s not an issue.
“[Taking back lost time in the mountains] won’t be a question with Alberto on this best level. In fact, it will be other way around”, Hernandez assures.
Due to Alberto Contador’s “poor” results this year, rumors of Contador not being as strong as usually in his training have surfaced. I asked Jesus Hernandez about these rumors and I think his answer speaks for itself.
“Come train a few days with him [Contador] and you will see the answer to those rumors”.