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Alberto Contador may have come off what he believes was the best season of his career, but the Spaniard has said that his career is inching towards a close and that he will no longer be racing at 35 years of age.
Now 32, the Tinkoff Saxo rider told Marca that he had a clear idea about how he wanted to go out of the sport. Asked if he planned to ink a new deal after his current one ends in December 2015, he said that remains to be seen.
“I’ll see how the season goes,” he said, declining to make any promises at this point. “I feel really good. Physically speaking, this year has been the best of my entire career.
“But the years go by, and although I’m not feeling physically or psychologically weary, my intention is to retire at the top, winning my last race. And I don’t mean a small one; I’m talking about a big one. Specifically, the Tour.”
Contador’s fans will be concerned at the thoughts of him hanging up his wheels, but he indicates that he might keep racing for some time yet.
“In principle, I don’t plan on retiring at the end of 2015, but as I said, I have to be at my top level,” he explained. “I don’t see myself being here for many more years. I won’t make it to 35 [as a pro]. I’ll stay for another contract at most. Then let’s see how things look.”
Contador turned 32 on December 6 and so the time limit he has put on his career could in theory see him continue until the 2017. If things go to plan, he’ll win that year’s Tour de France, then walk away from the sport, just over four months before that 35th birthday.
Marca also asked Contador for his views on the Astana situation. The team of his Tour rival Vincenzo Nibali had a total of five positive cases in recent months, divided up between the WorldTour and Continental squads.
Contador claimed that things are improving in the sport and that the Astana situation wasn’t representative of the peloton.
“I think that now cycling is going in the right direction, although of course at times there are things that make you think otherwise, things from another time, that belong to the past,” he said.
“Today, this sport is a clean sport, but that doesn’t stop some cretin from making things bad for the rest of us.”