Alberto Contador's preparation for next year's Tour de France will not include the Giro d'Italia, according to the Astana rider.
Arguably Spain's hottest cycling property, Contador told reporters at a charity race in Spain on Sunday that the best preparation for the Tour excluded the Giro, in 2009 at least. This comes despite him being the defending champion.
"After winning the Giro and Vuelta this year, I'll return to the Tour to try to win," he explained. "I will not participate in the Giro. Last year I did, but I had more trouble recovering late in the season."
Instead, Contador will focus on early-season stage races such as Paris-Nice, which he won in 2007, Vuelta a Castilla y Leon and Vuelta al País Vasco. Later in the season the Dauphiné Libéré will fine tune preparations as the Astana squad tailors its program to peak at the Tour de France. This preparation will include reconnaissance of the Tour's major passes. The Spaniard's season following the Tour remains a little uncertain, however.
"I will race after the Tour and then decide if I'll participate in the Vuelta or not," he added. "But the one goal I will sacrifice 100 per cent for is the Tour."