International Cycling

Contador to retire in 2016

2015-02-16 15:42
Alberto Contador (AFP)

Madrid - Spain's two-time Tour de France winner Alberto Contador has said on Monday that he wants to leave cycling at the top of his game and plans to retire after the 2016 season.

"After 2016, what I can say for now, is that I don't see myself racing," the 32-year-old told a news conference.

"This year, I am sure to be there, but next year I can't guarantee... That may be my last year," he added.

Contador has had plenty of highs during his career, being only one of six riders to have won all three Grand Tour -- the Tour de France, Giro d'Italia and Tour of Spain.

But his success was tainted by a two-year ban for a positive doping test which led him to be stripped of his 2010 Tour and 2011 Giro titles.

Contador returned to racing in 2012 and won his home Tour that year. He pulled out of the Tour de France last year after suffering a heavy crash during the 10th stage but won his third Tour of Spain months later.

"It is hard to set a date when you love what you do. Physically I feel very well but it is true that the years are going by and you have to set a date. I would like to retire on top of a podium," he said.

"I feel very good, I recover well from training, I am very excited with my team. While I am very well physically, I could not know exactly how many years I could compete in the grand tours. I would like to retire at the top."

Contador said his goal is to win both the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France in quick succession this year, a schedule some think is foolhardy.

He will start his 2015 season -- the last of his current contract with Tinkoff-Saxo -- on Wednesday at the Ruta del Sol, a five-day stage race in southern Spain which will see him go head-to-head with Team Sky rider Chris Froome.

"I start my season in two days and I am desperate to get going, I have trained a lot," said Contador.

"I am a rider that likes to compete. We will see what shape I am, perhaps I will be a little slower than last year with this great Giro-Tour challenge I have planned.

"Obviously, when you plan something it is because you want to win. I don't settle and I wouldn't sign for anything other than first place in both. It doesn't mean I am going to win or that it will be easy, to win one will be really difficult, much less both of them.

"I am not thinking of the Tour of Spain unless I have a setback at the Tour or something unforeseen happens.

"If I take part in a major race I am taking part to win and the challenge of winning the Giro and the Tour is already something that many people think is impossible so taking part in the Giro, Tour and Tour of Spain would be laughable."

Read more on:    tour de france  |  alberto contador  |  cycling

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