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Speculation has been growing in recent days that Alberto Contador could be considering defending his title in the Vuelta a España, with websites and social media all suggesting that he will line out in the event.
The speculation is driving in part by the stellar lineup for the race plus the desire to see all the world’s top riders stage a rematch after the recent Tour de France.
Tour champion Chris Froome (Sky) and fellow podium finishers Nairo Quintana and Alejandro Valverde (both Movistar) have been confirmed, as have 2014 Tour champion Vincenzo Nibali, his Astana team-mates Fabio Aru and Mikel Landa, Tejay Van Garderen (BMC Racing Team), Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo), Domenico Pozzovivo (Ag2r La Mondiale) and the Tour of Utah winner Joe Dombrowski (Cannondale–Garmin).
In addition to that, some are hoping that Contador will aim for the rare Giro/Vuelta double, and thus avenge his defeat in the Tour de France.
Rumours of him riding sections of the Vuelta route have also fuelled the rumours and, even if he has already said his season is at an end, those predicting a Vuelta start point to his denials last year prior to riding – and winning – the event.
Website Ciclo21 contacted the rider’s press officer Jacinto Vidarte about the suggestions of a start in the race. “They are just rumours,” he answered.
That isn’t a firm dismissal, but the team’s managing director and CEO Stefano Feltrin was more definite when asked about the matter.
“Alberto is not riding the Vuelta,” he told CyclingTips Saturday evening, thus putting an end to the rumours and speculation.