Reigning Tour de France champion Alberto Contador will skip the UCI Road World Championships this year in order to better prepare for next season, the Spanish team coach said Friday.
“I spoke to (Contador) on the phone and he told me he preferred not to extend his season in order to face next season with more guarantees,” said the coach, Jose Luis de Santos.
Contador has also skipped this month’s Tour of Spain after a hard-fought win in the Tour de France in July, his third victory in the race.
De Santos was speaking at a news conference called to announce the squad of 21 riders from which he will select the team to take part in the UCI Road World Championships, to be held in Australia from September 29 to October 3.
The final 11-member team, which will include nine riders in the road race and two in the time-trial, will be announced before the end of the Tour of Spain on September 19.
The preliminary squad includes three-time World Road Race champion Oscar Freire, 34, and the Olympic champion, Samuel Sanchez. Aside from Contador, also missing will be last year’s Tour of Spain champion Alejandro Valverde, who is serving a two-year doping suspension.
De Santos said Valverde’s absence was “a major loss, not only because he’s a great rider but because he holds the team together in general by the way he conducts himself”.
Preliminary Spanish squad for UCI World Championships
Javier Moreno, Imanol Erviti, Ivan Gutierrez, Pablo Lastras, Luis Pasamontes, Ruben Plaza, Jose Joaquin Rojas, Luis Leon Sanchez, Francisco Jose Ventoso, Xavier Tondo, Koldo Fernandez, Egoi Martinez, Samuel Sanchez, Carlos Barredo, Oscar Freire, Juan Manuel Garate, Juan Antonio Flecha, Joaquim Rodriguez, Haimar Zubeldia, Gustavo Cesar Veloso, David Garcia
© AFP 2010