• Alberto Contador is set to start his final season at the Volta ao Algarve (Supplied)Source: Supplied
Unlike several of his rivals, Alberto Contador has kept a low profile in his build-up for the big events to come in 2016, but that’s about to change.
Cycling Central

12 Feb 2016 - 11:47 AM  UPDATED 12 Feb 2016 - 11:58 AM

The multiple Grand Tour winner opens his final season as a professional at the 17-21 March Volta ao Algarve in Portugal, with the top step of the Tour de France podium his ultimate destination.

"Nearly everybody will have already put on a race number on their backs and finished a race,” Contador said. “I'm also eager to start because I enjoy competing as well.

Despite riders like Chris Froome, Nairo Quintana and Richie Porte already showing they are on schedule for strong results in July, Contador remains confident about his preparation.

“I went through a good winter period because in Europe we had quite mild weather, something that helped me keep a continuity in my training,” he said.

“I also tried to organize my schedule and the non-sport commitments so that I can train. I was able to complete two very good training blocks with the team, one in December in Gran Canaria and another one in January, in Tenerife.”

But for now the five-stage Volta ao Algarve remains his immediate concern, with its deep field and testing route essential to his build-up.

“I consider it (the Volta ao Algarve) to be a perfect race to finetune my form and start my first block of competition, where I hope to have a good level in all races,” Contador said.

“I believe we will see a very good lineup, with 12 WorldTour teams, while the route will be a bit harder than usual. It features two summit finishes and, in addition, a time-trial that is quite long and flat. It will be interesting preparation towards future goals.”