Alberto Contador targets hat-trick in Tour de France
Two-time Tour de France winner Alberto Contador will join US team Trek-Segafredo next year from current side Tinkoff as he targets a hat-trick in cycling’s most prestigious race, the US team said yesterday.
“I am thrilled about the opportunity that is in front of me. Trek-Segafredo is a very attractive and ambitious project that really inspires me,” the Spaniard said in a statement released by Trek-Segafredo on Thursday announcing the signing.
“I had some excellent conversations with the team management and we have a lot of goals and priorities in common. The big objective is to try and win the most important races on the calendar – first and foremost the Tour de France.”
A Trek-Segafredo spokesman said Contador – once banned for doping – had a contract from January 2017 until the end of 2018.
Contador, who won cycling’s showpiece race in 2007 and 2009, had made the Tour de France his main goal of the season, skipping the Giro to focus on the Tour this summer.
But he was forced to quit cycling’s most famous race in the ninth stage after crashing on both of the opening two stages, suffering injuries including down his right side.
Contador won the Vuelta in 2008, 2012 and 2014 but a fall and severe grazing down one side of his body hampered his form in this year’s edition, which was won by Colombia’s Nairo Quintana.
He was stripped of the 2010 Tour title and suspended for two years after testing positive for the banned steroid clenbuterol in the final week of the race.
A move to Trek-Segafredo may put Contador back in contention next year, but at 33 and having missed out on a Grand Tour for the first time in three years, it will be a huge feat if he adds to his Grand Tour wins.
“The sporting side was the key point in my decision. This team is focused on performance and there’s a really strong group of riders with experience in all kinds of terrain, not only the mountains,” Contador said.
“I like that it’s such an open, international group of riders. I am convinced that this team can provide me with the best structure and bring me in the best conditions to the races. I race to win, and I am determined to get intensely invested in this team.”
Trek-Segafredo general manager Luca Guercilena said he believed his side will be “stronger and all-around better and broader” with Contador.
“Alberto is a formidable rider and a real fighter. He’s a champion. There is really no one like Alberto in the current peloton and we are very happy to welcome him to the team,” Guercilena said.
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