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Echoing Alberto Contador’s Twitter announcement Wednesday that he was renouncing his planned participation in the Vuelta a España, his spokesman Jacinto Vidarte has expanded upon the reasons why the Spaniard has decided not to take part.
“The injury is not really good,” he told CyclingTips. “The most important [factor] is that he doesn’t know how much time he will need to recover properly and, especially, to start riding the bike again. He has no time to take the start in a good condition, to fight for the victory.”
Vidarte is aware that Contador is one of the top names in the sport, but also recognises that it may not be in the rider’s interest to take part if he can’t perform. “He doesn’t want to be at the Vuelta just to be there,” he said.
Contador crashed out of the Tour de France on stage ten, hitting a hole on a descent and falling to the ground. He damaged his leg and while he tried to continue, he was forced to give up on the race. Medical assessment later showed that he had suffered a fractured tibia.
He was examined the following day at the CEMTRO hospital in Madrid, and it was decided then that an operation was not necessary.
He tried to remain optimistic. “Doctors have told me it will be almost impossible to be in the Tour of Spain, but we’ll see how the leg evolves… Doctors have put things very black, but I will work hard in the coming weeks and we’ll see how far I can get.”
However that cautious optimism disappeared Wednesday when he officially stated that the race against time was impossible. “Bad day, the wound healing gets complicated. I’ve no date to take the bike. Goodbye to the Vuelta,” he stated via twitter.
Vidarte explained to CyclingTips the timeline that he was up against. “From the beginning the doctors said that they will need around three, four weeks to recover properly. That means that he was thinking always that maybe in one and a half weeks or so he can go back to the bike. But it is too much. He will need at least three weeks or so.
“So he has not time for training a little bit and taking back the shape.”
Riis, however, appeared to have a different perspective. The Tinkoff Saxo team manager told CyclingTips that it is too soon for a decision to be made. “We still have to wait some time for Alberto, to see if he can do it or not,” he said, apparently fending off his team leader’s own announcement. “It is not going to be easy, but we will see.”
Presuming that Contador holds fast on his decision and it proves to be impossible for him to take part – or, at least, to take part at the level he believes is necessary – the question exists as to which races he will ride.
Vidarte said such a decision will likely be made early next month.
“At the moment we haven’t a plan B. I think in the case that he cannot go the Vuelta, he will look for other races to the end of the season,” he stated.
“What does that mean? At the moment we don’t know. Maybe do the rest of the ProTour calendar. Maybe go to the worlds. We will see what happens. But probably he will be back to another race before the end of the season.”
Asked if he would consider doing the Tour of Beijing, the last-held of the UCI’s WorldTour races in the current calendar, Vidarte said it was one possibility that the team will consider. If he travels there, riding the Japan Cup is also a potential goal.
However he said it’s simply too soon to know. “We don’t know at the moment. But the most important thing is to have Alberto recovered and then we will see the calendar and what he can do.”