Contador to skip Vuelta a Espana

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Florence on his mind... Alberto Contador has decided not to ride the Vuelta a Espana and will instead supplement his program with one-day races in France and Canada before a possible run at the world championships. (Getty Images)
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Five-time Grand Tour winner Alberto Contador has confirmed he will not ride the Vuelta a Espana in 2013, forgoing the chance to defend his 2012 crown after a grueling Tour de France.

Contador finished fourth at the Tour, slipping out of podium contention on the race's final mountain day on Annecy-Semnoz when Joaquim Rodriguez and Nairo Quintana dished out the pain.

The Spaniard was a shadow of his former self in this year's race, conceding time to Chris Froome in the race's two key time trials, and looking weaker than many of his key rivals in the high mountains.

The Saxo-Tinkoff rider had threatened to ride the Giro d'Italia earlier in the year, and the Vuelta a Espana had always been on his radar, but with the stature of the 100th Tour set to be unrivalled Contador's focus lay in July.

According to French sports daily L'Equipe, despite the temptation to ride his home Grand Tour again, which he's won twice before in 2012 and 2009, a knee injury and accumulated fatigue have forced him to seek an alternative calendar.

Russian businessman Oleg Tinkoff's departure from the team had made it reconsider a Vuelta ride in a bid to gain additional publicity before season's end. Sporting director Philippe Maduit, however, has confirmed the team will stick with its initial plans.

After finishing the post-Tour criterium circuit, Contador will take a few weeks off before heading to the Grand Prix de Plouay, and the Canadian one-day classics, Quebec and Montreal.

The Spaniard also said he was unfazed by the decision of Tinkoff to walk away from the team, insisting he's very much committed to sticking with Bjarne Riis at Saxo.

Tinkoff has been highly critical of the Spaniard, tweeting that he wasn't worth the money he was paying him, and he'd been disappointed by the team's "lack of results".

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