Alberto Contador is the bookmaker’s favorite as he makes his bid for a third Tour de France victory.
He does so, however, looking less imperious than last year. After a decent Paris-Nice, he only managed Â a second place in the DauphinÃ© LiberÃ©, where, on a thrilling ascent of Â l’Alpe d’Huez he visibly took himself to the pain cave trying – and failing – to shake a composed Jani Brajkovic off his wheel.
He will also be without Oscar Pereiro, who did not make the Tour de France cut – puzzling, given that most assumed the veteran Spaniard and 2006 Tour winner had been drafted in to pace Contador in the mountains. Contador has been training with Pereiro at altitude, and the two will doubtless ride again during the Vuelta.
Alexandre Vinokourov should provide able support, and be a significant threat himself for a top 10 GC place, having shown his good legs during the Giro. And, if Contador makes it over the cobbles intact and does find form, even riders of Carlos Sastre’s calibre admit that the rest of the peloton will be reduced to scrapping for second place.
Alberto Contador (ESP)
David de la Fuente (ESP)
Andriy Grivko (UKR)
Jesus Hernandez (ESP)
Maxim Iglinsky (KAZ)
Daniel Navarro (ESP)
Benjamin Noval (ESP)
Paolo Tiralongo (ITA)