Next week Alberto Contador faces Chris Froome for the first time in the 2014 season and after his excellent performance at Tirreno-Adriatico, expectations for the Spaniard are high. However, his team plays down his opportunities as they insist that his Italian showing will be hard to repeat.
On Monday, the 24th of March, the 94th edition of Volta a Catalunya kicks offwith the first of 7 stages in total and as usual, the peloton is challenged with a delicious course for the climbers. No less than 23 categorized climbs are on the program and Tinkoff-Saxo will be on the spot with a full set of hungry climbers:
Alberto Contador, Rafal Majka, Chris Anker Sørensen, Bruno Pires, Sergio Paulinho, Rory Sutherland, Jesus Hernandez and Pawel Poljanski.
Throughout the years, the race has been dominated by memorable Spanish legends like Luis Ocana, Miguel Indurain, Fernando Escartin, Joseba Beloki and Alejandro Valverde but other big names such as Eddy Merckx, Jacques Anquetil, Felice Gimondi and Sean Kelly have won the race. And there’s no doubt that this year’s winner will be a strong climber. There are no time trials in the race and the mountainous terrain during stages three and four will make sure that the heavier riders will be out of the GC.
Even though Tinkoff-Saxo’s Alberto Contador is in great shape, DS, Philippe Mauduit doesn’t necessarily expect another superb overall win:
“As you know it’s never easy to win such race," he said. "The race level will be at the highest and the profile of the race pretty hard. In the past few years the first two stages were offering a surprising scenario so we have to be ready and never forget that everything can happen. After those first two stages, we enter mountain terrain where I expect a big fight between the GC riders.
"We will have to do our best to support Alberto and we have the team to do so. Of course after Tirreno everybody expects Alberto doing another spectacular show but we have to bear in mind that he did some thing incredibly outstanding in Tirreno and it's really difficult to produce such performance at that level of competition. So we will take it day by day and the team will do their best to give him the support he deserves."
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