Tinkoff-Saxo’s Alberto Contador will race three more times in 2015 but without any stated ambitions beyond the possibility of defending his UCI World Tour lead.
Cycling Central

7 Apr 2015 - 5:20 PM  UPDATED 13 Apr 2015 - 3:34 PM

The Vuelta a Espana winner will begin the closing phases of his season at the Milano-Torino, a race he won in 2012, before tackling the Giro di Lombardia and Tour of Beijing.

"After the Vuelta a Espana I've basically dedicated most of my time to rest because I finished the the race really tired", said Contador.

"I have done some longer training rides these last few days, but I don't know exactly how I will feel, when we're deep into the race. I'll do Milano-Torino, Giro di Lombardia and Tour of Beijing, which is a new race for me.

"I know Milano-Torino and Lombardia well, and I like them both a lot, although one-day races are not my specialty. But I'm excited about getting back to racing this week to do a good result."

Contador is currently leading the International Cycling Union (UCI) individual rankings, trailed by Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), who is 14 points behind. Australia's Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEDGE) is third with 478 points.

The Milano-Torino is not part of the UCI World Tour, so the task for Contador at Lombardia and Beijing, the final two events of the year, will be a difficult one. While not yet listed to race in China, Valverde is again likely to feature at the Italian race, where he finished second in 2013 behind Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha).

Contador struggled in that race and was dropped before eventually pulling out, along with the majority of the field. So with admittedly uncertain form it is doubtful he can hold off his Spanish countryman.

"Everybody likes to be number one by the end of the year. But I'm already very happy with leading the individual rankings right now, especially after failing to get any points at the Tour de France.

"But we have to keep in mind that I have very strong rivals, especially Alejandro Valverde, who's very good at maintaining a strong shape during the season. He will be very difficult to beat."

Still, Contador has shown during his career that he can perform on minimal preparation, and if the Vuelta a Espana was any guide, he always shows up to race to the best of his ability..

The 2014 Giro di Lombardia will be broadcast on SBS ONE and streamed online at Cycling Central from 12:15am AEDT Monday 6 October.