Giro-Tour double career-changing: Contador

Thu Jul 2, 2015 1:02pm EDT
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By Julien Pretot

UTRECHT, Netherlands (Reuters) - The Giro/Tour de France double would be a career-changing achievement, Alberto Contador said on Thursday as he embarks on a the world's greatest cycling race less than two months after winning in Italy.

The Spaniard, who has won seven grand tours since his maiden Tour title in 2007, is one of four pre-race favorites along with Britain's Chris Froome, Italian defending champion Vincenzo Nibali and Colombian Nairo Quintana.

The last rider to win the Giro and the Tour in the same season was the late Marco Pantani in 1998.

"The most important thing is motivation -- this is what you need to achieve this double. If I win just another grand tour it’s not going to change my career but if I achieve the double this is something people are going to remember," Contador told a news conference.

"I take a lot of motivation from this."

Of the 12 grands tours he has completed, Contador has never finished outside the top five, ending up first on nine occasions. He lost two of those titles following a positive doping test for clenbuterol in 2010.

He attempted the Giro/Tour double once, in 2011, but both his results -- first in the Giro, fifth in the Tour -- were annulled after his positive test.

How he has recovered from a brutal Giro, during which he was pushed to the limit by the Astana team, will be key.   Continued...

Tinkoff-Saxo team rider Alberto Contador of Spain (L) talks with his team mate Peter Sagan of Slovakia during a team training session in Utrecht, Netherlands, July 2, 2015. The 2015 Tour de France cycling race will start in Utrecht, on Saturday July 4. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini