Contador says dropping Giro will boost his Tour hopes

Fri Mar 11, 2016 11:24am EST
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By Julien Pretot

SALON DE PROVENCE, France (Reuters) - Alberto Contador believes his absence from this year's Giro d'Italia could prove to be a game-changer when he challenges for a third Tour de France title in July.

The 33-year-old Spaniard won a punishing Giro last year but fizzled out in the Tour that followed and finished a distant fifth without ever being in contention.

"Having decided not to ride the Giro, I know I can give my all in all the events I enter, it’s a real deal-changer," Contador told Reuters at the Paris-Nice stage race which he is riding for the first time since 2010.

"The legs are good, I’m satisfied with my form at this stage of the season."

The seven-times grand tour winner last won the Tour de France in 2010 but was stripped of that title after testing positive for the banned anabolic agent clenbuterol.

The Spaniard, who had blamed the failed test on contaminated meat and denied wrongdoing, previously won the Tour in 2007 and 2009.

Contador will compete in the Olympic road race in Rio in August, but he saw that as a natural follow-up to the Tour whereas targeting two three-week events in a single season was another matter.

His queen stage victory in last month's Tour of Algarve came after a trademark attack reminiscent of his greatest days but he preferred not to look back that far.   Continued...

Alberto Contador holds a news conference, before participating in a street race, in Aalborg, Denmark August 18, 2015.  REUTERS/Henning Bagger/Scanpix Denmark