Contador opens season in Portugal

Cycling,Portugal, Alberto Contador Tony Martin, Rui Costa, Volta ao Algarve
Alberto Contador will open his 2014 season in Portugal at the Volta ao Algarve (AAP)

Two-time Tour de France winner Alberto Contador does not rate his chances of unseating defending champion Tony Martin at this year's Volta ao Algarve.

The five-stage race is the first race of the year for Contador, whom defending Tour de France champion Christopher Froome (Sky) has singled out as one of his two main rivals to his crown for this year's renewal, along with Vincenzo Nibali (Astana).

The Tinkoff-Saxo rider said he was "very motivated and very excited" this season as he seeks to get his career back on track after serving a two-year ban for testing positive for clenbuterol on the 2010 Tour de France.

He said he was looking forward to the Portugal race but had one eye on the more high-profile events to come.

"There will be riders with more pace than me. The goal is to keep adding kilometres and think about the next races," said Contador.

Martin will be joined by Omega Pharma-QuickStep team-mate Mark Cavendish who will be looking to add stage wins to his already extensive list of sprint victories.

At last year's race, 28-year-old Martin, a formidable time-triallist who has won the world title three times, won by just under a minute from team-mate Michal Kwiatkowski.

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